Epidemic diseases inflict substantial damage to stocks of harvested species. Epidemic waves can be predictable away from their origin. I use a classical epidemiology model to investigate the interaction of harvesting strategy with an epidemic. The effect of reducing populations by harvesting before the epidemic depends upon the nature of the epidemic’s survivors. If these have recovered following infection, then pre-epidemic fishing optimizes the harvest, but reduces long-term survival. However, if these survivors avoided infection, then increased pre-epidemic fishing effort can increase post-epidemic populations; survival is maximized by reducing the pre-epidemic population to the threshold required to propagate infection. Post-epidemic harvesting provides poor returns and damages stocks. Optimal stock management strategy in the face of a predicted epidemic depends upon balancing harvesting and conservation of stocks-complimentary or antagonistic goals, depending on the nature of the epidemic.