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AK Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands Flatfish Trawl

Current Classification on 2017 LOF

Category II
Estimated Number of Participants 32
Target Species flatfish
Applicable Take Reduction Plans N/A
Observer Coverage From 1998-2005, pooled observer coverage for all areas was: 59.4%, 66.3%, 64.5%, 57.6%, 58.4%, 63.9%, 68.2%, and 68.3%, respectively.
Marine Mammal Species/Stocks Killed or Injured Bearded seal, AK;
Gray whale, Eastern North Pacific;
Harbor porpoise, Bering Sea;
Harbor seal, Bering Sea;
Humpback whale, Western North Pacific
Killer whale, AK resident
Killer whale, GOA, AI, BS transient
Northern fur seals, Eastern Pacific;
Ribbon seal, AK;
Ringed seal, AK;
Spotted seal, AK;
Steller sea lion, Western U.S.
Walrus, AK.

^ Number of participants estimates are based on state and federal fisheries permit data.  The estimated number of participants is expressed in terms of the number of active participants in the fishery, when possible.  If this information is not available, the estimated number of vessels or persons licensed for a particular fishery is provided.  If no recent information is available on the number of participants, then the number from the most recent LOF is used.  NMFS acknowledges that, in some cases, these estimations may be inflating actual effort.  

*Observer coverage levels include the latest information reported in the most current final Stock Assessment Report (SAR)

1 Indicates the stock or species is driving the classification of the fishery 

Note: Current classification based on final LOF, no proposed changes are reflected in this table.

Basis for Current Classification

The total annual mortality and serious injury of Steller sea lions (Western U.S. stock) and killer whales (AK resident stock) is more than 1% and less than 50% of each stock's Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level. 


Fishing effort in this fishery occurs within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone of the Eastern Bering Sea and the portion of the North Pacific Ocean adjacent to the Aleutian Islands, which is west of 170°W. long. up to the U.S.-Russian Convention Line of 1867. 

Gear Description


This fishery is federally managed under the BSAI FMP.  The authorized gear, fishing season, criteria for determining fishing seasons, and area restrictions by gear type are defined in the regulations implementing the BSAI FMP (50 CFR 679).  Management measures for the BSAI groundfish fisheries constrain fishing both temporally and spatially.  


Historical Information

Original Category (Year added to the LOF) III (1996)
Original Number of Participants 490
Basis for Original Classification Incidental take of killer whales (unknown transient and resident stocks) was 8% of the stock’s PBR.  However,
population estimates of both stocks were known to be biased low (because estimates were based on direct counts) and NMFS had good estimates of incidental take in this fishery as a result of 60% observer coverage.  Therefore, the levels of take were not thought to have a significant effect on the population and the fishery was listed as Category III.
Past Names AK BSAI Groundfish Trawl (until 2004)
Species/stocks historically documented as killed or injured (but not currently on the list) N/A


Timeline of Changes

  • Added the following species/stocks: Gray whale, Eastern North Pacific; Humpback whale, Western North Pacific(1); Killer whale, GOA, AI, BS transient(1); Ribbon seal, AK; Ringed seal, AK.
  • Changed the stock name of the Northern fur seals stock from "Eastern North Pacific" to "Eastern Pacific" to match the SARs.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 26 to 34.
  • Added the following species/stocks to update the stocks associated with the fisheries delineated in 2004: Bearded seal (AK); Harbor porpoise (Bering Sea); Harbor seal (Bering Sea); Northern fur seals (Eastern North Pacific); Pacific walrus; Spotted seal (AK).
  • Changed the stock name of the killer whale resident stock from “Eastern North Pacific resident” to “AK resident.”
  • Deleted killer whale (Eastern North Pacific transient).  Since the 2005 LOF, NMFS performed genetic testing on biopsy samples of killer whales killed/injured in this fishery and determined that the fishery only interacts with the resident stock of killer whales.
  • Added a superscript “1” in Table 1 after killer whale (AK resident) and Steller sea lion (Western U.S.), indicating that takes of these stocks are driving the classification of this fishery.
  • Elevated to Category II based on documented interactions with Steller sea lions (Western U.S.) and killer whales (Eastern North Pacific resident and transient stocks).  Estimated take of Steller sea lions (Western U.S.) was 3.1 animals/year, or 1.48% of PBR (PBR=209); estimated take of killer whales (Eastern North Pacific resident stock) was 0.5 animals/year, or 6.94% of PBR (PBR=7.2); and estimated take of killer whales (Eastern North Pacific transient stock) was 0.5 animals/year, or 17.86% of PBR (PBR=2.8).
  • The “AK BSAI flatfish trawl” fishery was split from the Category III "AK Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish trawl" fishery.  NMFS recognized that the large fishery groups in AK included in the LOF up through 2004 were not homogenous, instead these represented a diverse group of fisheries with different interactions with marine mammals.  The larger fishery was delineated into more discrete fisheries according to area, gear and target species to reflect fisheries as managed under the BSAI Fishery Management Plan (FMP).  The newly delineated fishery was listed as a Category III until the completion of analyses of serious injury and mortality in the new fishery, with an estimated 26 participants.
  • The list of marine mammal species/stocks incidentally killed/injured in the larger fishery was also delineated to correspond to the more discrete fisheries listed for the first time in 2004.  The list of species/stocks incidentally killed/injured in the “AK BSAI Pollock trawl” fishery included:  Steller sea lion (Western U.S.), Killer whale (Eastern North Pacific resident), and killer whale (Eastern North Pacific transient).
Changes on the LOF when the “AK BSAI flatfish trawl” fishery was included in the larger “AK BSAI groundfish trawl” fishery
  • NMFS proposed to elevate this fishery to Category II, but did not elevate the fishery at that time based on public comments and the fact that this fishery is made up of a diverse group of trawl fisheries targeting different groundfish.  NMFS stated its intent to propose fishery delineations within this fishery to accurately reflect the fishing regimes, and evaluate incidental take, in the 2004 LOF.
  • Added fin whale (Northeast Pacific) because this stock is known to interact with the fishery and was inadvertently omitted from lists of species in the past.  
  • NMFS proposed to delete harbor seals (Gulf of Alaska) from the list, but decided not to do so after verifying that the species range overlapped with the fishery range.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 166 to 157.
  • Added humpback whale (Central North Pacific) and humpback whale (Western North Pacific) based on the mortality of a single whale in 1998.  The stock identification for the whale was uncertain; therefore, the mortality was attributed to both the Central and Western North Pacific stocks.   
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 193 to 166.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 186 to 193.
  • Estimated number of participants updated from 490 to 186.


Updated January 14, 2017