Quota a concern for Alaska pollock
After two lean years of Alaska Bering Sea pollock harvests, 2011 was supposed to be a return to normalcy with a quota set near the historic average at 1.25 million metric tons.
The season ended with a thud, though, as some 54,000 metric tons were left in the water following the “B” season that starts June 10 and ends Nov. 1. The shore-based catcher fleet reported difficulties finding the fish, poor catch rates and soaring encounters with both chinook and chum salmon bycatch as effort extended deeper into the fall.
The 2011 season was the first under new chinook salmon bycatch reduction measures, and while the pollock fleets finished well under the cap of 47,591, nearly 18,000 of about 25,000 chinooks were taken during the “B” season.
After taking between 13,000 and 46,000 chum salmon from 2008 to 2010, pollock boats caught about 180,000 chums in 2011.