Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pollock holds steady

Federal scientists meeting in Seattle this week appear primed to advise only a slight change in next year's eastern Bering Sea pollock catch.

I haven't spoken to the scientists directly, but it looks like KUCB radio out in Dutch Harbor did, and they favor an "acceptable biological catch" of 813,000 metric tons.

If that number is adopted as the commercial quota, it would be only a nibble off this year's limit of 815,000 tons.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will recommend a quota at its December meeting in Anchorage. The final say belongs to the U.S. commerce secretary.

Bering Sea pollock is the nation's largest commercial fishery by weight. Pollock are used predominantly for goods such as fish sticks and surimi, a protein paste that's fashioned into an array of specialty products in Asia.

The pollock stock is at a low ebb right now, scientists say. That's why the catch quota is way off its peak of 1.49 million tons in 2004.

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