ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SCIENCES RESEARCH PROGRAM:
The AFSC Community Profiles Project team has completed a preliminary rough
draft of profiles for 116 communities in Alaska. The communities were
selected on the basis of processing locations, vessel ownership, and vessels
home ports. Recently obtained data on permit ownership and crew member
licenses will add more communities to the list in the next draft.
The 5-page profiles for each community follow the same general outline:
People and Place (Location, Demographics, History).
Infrastructure (Current Economy, Governance, Facilities).
Involvement in North Pacific Fisheries (Commercial Fishing, Recreational
Fishing, Subsistence Fishing).
Communities outside of Alaska that are involved in North Pacific fisheries
will be profiled this fall and winter. The preliminary list of these locations
includes approximately 70 communities in Washington, Oregon, California,
and Idaho. The AFSC Community Profiles Project is part of a national effort
to compile baseline social information on fishing communities.
Dr. Sepez continued to participate as a member the Magnuson Stevens Act
Fishing Communities national working group and prepared the discussion
paper Defining and Designating National Standard 8 Fishing Communities.
Our Living Oceans
The next edition of Our Living Oceans will focus on the economic performance
of U.S. fisheries. Program staff prepared the draft section for Alaska
fisheries which highlights the groundfish fisheries. The section states
the fishery management and development policies for the BSAI and GOA groundfish
fisheries have been successful in several ways.
First, the groundfish stocks, which include walleye pollock, Pacific cod,
sablefish, rockfish, flatfish, and Atka mackerel, generally are in a healthy
condition. All Alaska groundfish stocks have fluctuated in abundance over
the years, but no widespread trend toward decline is evident. None are
overfished, and overfishing is not occurring. This is in part the result
of efforts to set conservative quotas and prevent them from being exceeded.
For example, in 2002 the total groundfish harvest in the BSAI and GOA
groundfish fishery (2.10 million t) was only about 59% of the acceptable
biological catch (3.58 million t) and was about 94% of the total allowable
catch (2.24 million t).
Second, the domestic groundfish fishery off Alaska has become the dominant
Alaska fishery and a sustainable fishery in terms of total catch, exvessel
revenue, seafood processing revenue, and seafood exports and it has become
an important segment of the U.S. fishing industry. In the 1980s, joint-venture
and domestic fisheries rapidly replaced the foreign fisheries that had
accounted for more than 90% of the Alaska groundfish catch; and then the
domestic fisheries displaced the joint-venture fisheries. In joint-venture
fisheries, domestic fishing vessels delivered groundfish catch directly
to foreign processing vessels on the fishing grounds. The last foreign
and joint-venture groundfish fisheries in the EEZ off Alaska occurred in
1986 and 1990, respectively.
Third, there has been substantial success in addressing the problems of
bycatch and excess fishing capacity.
Data were summarized and provided to assist the Council, NMFS and the industry
in doing the following: 1) preparing the groundfish PSEIS; 2) addressing
Steller sea lions protection issues; 3) developing and analyzing Improved
Retention/Improved Utilization (IR/IU) alternatives for the BSAI groundfish
fishery; 4) addressing bycatch issues; and 5) addressing potential legislation
to modify the American Fisheries Act (AFA).
By Joe Terry.
Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources in the Central Bering Sea
Representatives of the United States, Russia, Japan, and Korea met in Portland,
Oregon, on 15-18 September 2003, for the 8th Annual Conference of the Parties
to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Pollock Resources
in the Central Bering Sea. The Peoples Republic of China (China) and
Poland did not send delegates to the meeting. The major functions of the
annual conference are to establish an allowable commercial harvest level
(AHL) for pollock in the central Bering Sea for the following year, establish
an annual individual national pollock quota (INQ) for each Party, establish
a Plan of Work for the Science and Technology Committee, and adopt appropriate
pollock conservation and management measures for the Convention area.
The best available information in 2003 to estimate the biomass in the Aleutian
Basin indirectly was obtained from a midwater echo integration-trawl survey
of the Bogoslof Island pollock spawning stock conducted by the United States
using the NOAA ship Miller Freeman in March 2003. U.S. scientists estimated
the pollock biomass for this area to be 198,000 tthe lowest biomass on record.
The Parties agreed to establish an intermediary step of determining the
allowable biological catch (ABC) of pollock in the Convention area, prior
to determining an AHL. They determined that the NPFMC method for setting
the ABC was appropriate for this purpose, based on the U.S. Bogoslof Island
pollock spawning stock survey results. As a result, Parties set the ABC
for the Convention area in 2004 at 2,401 t. Japan and Korea recommended
that the ABC be set as the AHL for 2004. However, due to the extremely
low biomass level of the Aleutian Basin pollock stock, the United States
and Russia recommended that the AHL be set at zero. When Parties fail
to reach consensus on the AHL, it is determined by a fall-back formula
in Part 1 of the Annex to the Convention. Pursuant to this formula, the
AHL was set at zero for 2004 and consequently the INQ was also set at zero.
The year 2004 will mark the 11th anniversary of a moratorium on commercial pollock fishing
in the central Bering Sea. Japan offered to host the 9th
Annual Conference of the Parties in Tokyo tentatively the week of 14 September 2004.
By Loh-Lee Low
quarterly July-Sept 2003 sidebar
Auke Bay Lab