Seafood group welcomes scientific findings on pollock fisheries
July 08, 2004
"It's encouraging to see strong independent corroboration of what we've known all along fishery management works in the North Pacific," Marine Conservation Alliance (MCA) Executive Director Ron Clarke said. Over the past three and a half years, the SCS conducted a rigorous scientific review of the North Pacific pollock harvest, concluding Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries met the MSC's stringent Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Fishing. "This confirms nearly three decades of evidence that fishery managers working within the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) are doing an admirable job", Clarke said.
Pollock is an abundant species of whitefish used in products from fast food restaurant fish sandwiches to imitation shrimp and crab. Since passage of the MSA in 1976, North Pacific stocks of pollock have increased and remained stable, now comprising about 30% of all seafood harvested in the United States.
"This is an important substantiation of a successful fishery management system that sustains the marine resource as well as the coastal communities that are dependent on it", Clarke said. Commercial fishing is the primary source of economic opportunity in many coastal towns, including Dutch Harbor, the nation's top seafood producer for over a decade, and Kodiak, frequently ranked as second-highest producer. Pollock is also the main source of revenue in many western Alaska communities, through the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program. CDQ access to pollock generates $40 million annually to participating villages. "Certification of the pollock fishery as sustainable should be good news in each of those communities", Clarke said.
Sustainably managed seafood harvesting and processing is the economic backbone of many coastal communities, where there are few other opportunities for economic development. CDQ program projects benefit more than 60 largely Native Alaska villages, and range from local infrastructure development critical to both the seafood industry and rural communities to scholarship programs to educate local residents.
The MCA was established in 2001 by fishing associations, communities, Alaska Native communities dependent on marine resources, harvesters, processors, and support sector businesses to promote the sustainable use of North Pacific marine resources by present and future generations -- based on sound science, prudent management, and a transparent, open public process. The Marine Conservation Alliance supports research and public education about the fishery resources of the North Pacific, and seeks practical solutions to resource use questions to both protect the marine environment and minimize adverse impacts on the North Pacific fishing community.
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