Justice Department OKs proposed fish allocation

Posted: Friday, June 23, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The federal Justice Department said this week that it won't challenge a proposed allocation of Alaska pollock by an industry group.

The Unisea Fleet Cooperative wants to distribute the share set aside for catcher-processors -- large vessels that catch and process their own fish onboard.

Under the American Fisheries Act, catcher-processors will receive about 35 percent of the annual harvest quota of Bering Sea and Aleutian Island pollock, one of the state's most lucrative fisheries.

The co-op maintains that its proposed allocation among all licensed catcher-processors would make the fishery more efficient and less wasteful. Under the current ''olympic'' system, fishermen try to catch as much pollock as they can in filling the quota.

Joel Klein, who heads the Justice Department's antitrust division in Washington, D.C.,, said Wednesday that the proposed allocation doesn't raise any anticompetitive issues, so his agency will not oppose the plan.

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