Friday, September 18, 2009

Surveys confirm 'low' pollock population

Pollock not overfished, scientists say. NOAA photo

We've seen a downward trend the last few years in the eastern Bering Sea pollock fishery, the nation's largest commercial catch by weight.

This year's total allowable catch (TAC) of 815,000 metric ton is barely more than half the 2006 level.

Now government scientists are evaluating this summer's at-sea stock surveys, which will be used to determine the TAC for the 2010 season. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will recommend a TAC at its early December meeting in Anchorage.

So, will the TAC be up or down?

It seems likely based on this press release that we won't see an increase, as researchers continue to find fewer fish of commercial size in the population.

It also seems pretty safe to assume, however, that we're not going to run out of fish sticks or imitation crab anytime soon, as the Bering Sea pollock catch will still be substantial even if regulators trim the TAC again.

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