The Alaska pollock fishery is not in danger of collapse.
The always measured and restrained folks at Greenpeace were at it again today. This time insisting they were right that overfishing has pushed Alaska Pollock to the brink of collapse. Not just the brink but the cusp... and we all know the cusp is much worse than the brink.
They base their assessment on a National Marine Fisheries Service report that says Alaska Pollock populations are down. Nowhere do the government scientists making the assessment suggest that the Alaska Pollock stock is on the brink of collapse... pardon me the cusp of collapse. And nowhere is it suggested that the decrease in stocks is being driven by anything but environmental factors, like water temperatures. Environmental factors are in play right now in Alaska that are not favorable to Pollock, plain and simple.
Unfortunately this is the type of alarmist rhetoric we have grown accustomed to from an organization that either doesn't understand the progressive science and management approaches that have made this fishery successful for three decades or chooses to ignore them in order to make headlines.
The Pollock Fishery management folks always set very conservative catch limits, at or below what scientists suggest in order to ensure sustainability. And catch limits are strictly enforced. All fish landed at onshore and at-sea processing plants are weighed and Federal fishery observers are stationed at all onshore plants, on all at-sea processing vessels and even on most of the fishing vessels themselves. The fishery is closed when catch limits are reached.
Alaska Pollok is simply a well maintained fishery that will make adjustments where needed when environmental factors effect the stock.
This is not an issue of over fishing.
So, while Greenpeace is busy letting everyone know the sky is falling perhaps they should be getting their Alaska pollock facts straight first. You'll remember it was just this summer that Greenpeace put its proverbial fin in its mouth when it released a list of fish species that should not be eaten. In the U.S. Alaska pollock was on the list but in Canada it was not-same fish different dinner table.
Perhaps after this alarmist release from Washington today announcing the end of days for Alaska pollock we should await one from Ottawa congratulating the fishery on its history of sustainable fishing.