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Pollock fishery needs more scrutiny

Posted: July 29, 2014 - 8:21am

About 10-12 years ago, Yukon River king salmon runs (of high Alaskan subsistence importance) began to diminish, a harbinger of more and continuing problems in Alaska king salmon fisheries. These diminished runs have continued. In that same time, the Deshka River has also sustained at least two long term king salmon sport fishing closures. Now, Kenai River king salmon runs are not meeting ADF&G escapement goals, and the River has been shutdown in consecutive years (2013-2014) for the first time in history.

I believe the answer to the diminishing Yukon River and Cook Inlet king salmon runs is simply part of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea pollock fishery discarded bycatch. And, unless and until this bycatch is made part of the pollock catch quota (and pollock high-grading, resulting in even more discarded bycatch, is stopped) by the NPFMC, nothing will change!

Many voting members of the 15 member NPFMC are from Alaska, who may not realize (or care?) about the king salmon value to Alaska tourism, compared to pollock value. I believe my allegation should be researched by a 5-10 member protected independent committee of knowledgeable fishers and/or marine biologists, and overtly reported; a single monitor per pollock trawler is not sufficient.

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