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Splitting pollock.

Splitting Pollock. It was the issue that split apart -- literally -- the North Pacific groundfish industry. After two years of analysis, at least $2 million dollars in socioeconomic research and hours of debate, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in June divided up the pollock and cod fisheries in the North Pacific between onshore and offshore processors.

The onshore/offshore split is the biggest allocation decision the fisheries management council has made since it was established by the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. Alaska pollock is the largest commercial fishery in the nation -- it's the largest finfish resource in the world -- and the decision to split the fishery in half affected more fish than any management move made in U.S. history.

The onshore/offshore scheme would reserve a certain percentage of annual catches of Alaska pollock and Pacific cod for the exclusive use of boats delivering to shore-based fish processors. Under the new rules, each processing ship or catcher-processor must declare at the beginning of each year which component it will participate in for that year -- onshore or offshore.

Fishing boats may deliver to any processor, on shore or at sea. A catcher/processor vessel that chooses the onshore component may not process its catch, at sea that year, and must choose one location to process each species of fish.

The onshore/offshore allocations are set differently for the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands area. The council's proposed allocations:

Gulf of Alaska. Pollock: 100 percent onshore, except for the amount of pollock needed as bycatch in other fisheries. Cod: 90 percent onshore, 10 percent offshore.

Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands. Pollock, in a program phased in over three years: year 1, 35 percent onshore, 65 percent offshore; year 2, 40 percent onshore, 60 percent offshore; year 3, 45 percent onshore, 55 percent offshore. Cod is not divided in the Bering Sea. A portion of the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands pollock quota may be allocated to Bering Sea communities that have established a fisheries development plan that has been approved by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. If that community development alllocation is not used up by the third quarter, it will be released to the general fisheries and split between onshore and offshore contingents.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council's program nust be forwarded to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for approval. Chasing after it will be several million dollars in public relations and lobbying efforts now being launched by shore-based processors, who support the division, and by the factory trawler fleet, which doesn't. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, the new allocation scheme would take effect in 1992.
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Title Annotation:North Pacific Fishery Management Council divides up the pollock and cod fisheries between onshore and offshore processing
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Sep 1, 1991
Previous Article:David Zechnich.
Next Article:Pair of plant openings.

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