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‘A’ season pollock quota back on par after decrease last season

Nat Herz
Alaska Public Media
Crew members shovel pollock onboard a trawler on the Bering Sea in 2019.

Bering Sea pollock fishermen have almost met their “A” season quota.

Since the fishery opened in late January, nearly 100 vessels have caught about 1.2 billion pounds of Alaska pollock. That leaves about 43 million pounds still available to catch.

“It’s definitely a lot of fish,” said Krista Milani, a fisheries resources management specialist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Unalaska. “Sometimes when you think about the amount of pollock that they’re able to sustain in the Bering Sea, it’s kind of mind-blowing how much pollock is actually there.”

Milani said this “A” season quota is back on par with recent years, after a decrease last season.

According to NOAA, fishery managers were dealing with data gaps stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A population survey also came back lower than expected.

“A” season ends June 10 — the same day “B” season starts.

Milani said that means some pollock fishermen could finish up their “A” season quotas and start their “B” season quotas on the same trip.

“It's pretty similar to previous years as far as the catch and the timing of when they wrapped up the fishery,” said Milani.

“B” season quotas are already set, and they’re up from last year.

Between all the different sectors, including shoreside and catcher-processors, the amount totals 1.5 billion pounds of pollock.

“B” season runs through November 1.

Alaska’s pollock fishery is among the world’s most valuable fisheries. NOAA says about a quarter of the catch goes to making surimi, which is used in imitation crab.

Sofia was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She’s reported around the U.S. for local public radio stations, NPR and National Native News. Sofia has a Master of Arts in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, a graduate certificate in Documentary Studies from the Salt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. In between her studies, Sofia was a ski bum in Telluride, Colorado for a few years.
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