News FocusFISHERY MANAGEMENT

Can Science Keep Alaska's Bering Sea Pollock Fishery Healthy?

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Science  04 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5958, pp. 1340-1341
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5958.1340

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Summary

Previous predictions of a sizable uptick in pollock numbers in the eastern Bering Sea, the largest and most lucrative fishery in North America, haven't been borne out by recent surveys. Instead, there are dramatically fewer pollock than scientists had estimated just a year ago. The stock is at its lowest level since 1980, and Greenpeace has put the fishery on its red list of unsustainable harvests. Last week in Seattle, Washington, responding to the lower numbers, scientists advising the North Pacific Fishery Management Council recommended that the catch, rather than being raised from this year's low as expected, stay low again in 2010. Given the uncertainty, some argue that the harvest should be cut even further. The council itself will vote on the recommendation next week.