National Marine Fisheries Service

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

As blue king crab fisheries continue to struggle in the Bering Sea, another stock has been added to the nation's "overfished" list. 

Every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports to Congress on the status of U.S. fisheries. The report highlights which stocks are in "overfishing" and "overfished" status, as well as which stocks have been rebuilt. 

NOAA Fishwatch

Bering Sea fishermen are now trawling for pollock.  

"B" season opened last week with a total quota of almost 742,764 metric tons, which is about 1.5 percent higher than last year

"It's fairly status quo," said Krista Milani of the National Marine Fisheries Service. "We've really enjoyed a pretty sustainable fishery in Bering Sea pollock, and we're really fortunate for that."

salmonfishing.org

Counting Atka mackerel became really important, according to National Marine Fisheries Service Biologist Suzanne McDermott, when Steller sea lions were declared endangered in 1997.

“We learned that Atka mackerel are their main food item,” McDermott said. “That’s when we really started looking at them in relation to Steller sea lions.”

McDermott knows the mammals face competition for their food — from commercial fishermen. In 2016, Alaska fishermen caught and kept 55,000 metric tons of Atka mackerel, and discarded another 532 tons as bycatch.