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News Line: Alaska pollock quota cut 18.5 percent
Greenpeace ad campaign alleges overfishing
- James Wright
January 01, 2009
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council in December cut
the 2009 Alaska pollock quota for the second consecutive year.
The council's 11 members unanimously voted for an 18.5 percent
cut to a total of 815,000 metric tons (see Top Species, p.
The reduction, which came one year after a 28 percent cut,
was expected and supported by government scientists who say the
stock is healthy. But environmental groups contend fishing has
depleted the resource, leaving the marine ecosystem and fishing
communities in harm's way.
Before the council's decision, Greenpeace aired TV ads in
Alaska and Seattle calling for an end to overfishing of Alaska
pollock. The spot featured a fisherman dressed in yellow
slickers carrying a sign that reads, "Unemployed. They
Phil Kline, senior oceans campaigner for Greenpeace and a
commercial fisherman of 29 years, said the quota should have
been cut by an additional 50 percent.
"Now is the time to back off the fishery," he says. "It's
about protecting not just pollock but the function of the
ecosystem and the people who depend on it."
Kline adds the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea and
Aleutian Islands pollock fisheries do not deserve to be
certified as sustainable and well managed by the Marine
Stewardship Council of London; those fisheries were certified
"Commercial seafood buyers and consumers around the world
who rely on MSC to provide assurance that they are sourcing
sustainably caught seafood should be confident that the Alaska
pollock fishery continues to be certified to the MSC's widely
accepted and rigorous scientific standard," the MSC says.
Alaska pollock ranked No. 4 on the National Fisheries
Institute's Top 10 list of the most popular seafood species
consumed in the United States in 2007 at 1.73 pounds per
capita. - James Wright