Alaska Pollock vs. Northern Cod

Home Forums Due October 29 Alaska Pollock vs. Northern Cod

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    Ron Sheldon

    The Alaska Pollock fishery as described by Kevin Baily and the Northern Cod fishery described by Paul Greenberg share a lot of similarities. Both were seen as “gold rush’ fisheries that drew large profits that seemed endless. The main difference was that pollock was seen as a potential replacement for cod following the collapse of the cod fishery.

    First, both fisheries were initially seen as endless. Because there was limited population data both fisheries relied heavily on catch data to formulate harvest quotas. Both species show a consistent abundance through catch data even though biomass is steadily declining.

    Second, both species are easily targeted in schools. This contributed to the faulty abundancy projections for cod and eventually pollock. As fisherman learned more about the fishery they became more and more successful at catching fish. This gives managers the perception that the population is growing rather than the truth that the fisherman are just getting better at targeting them.

    Last, both fisheries cover a large area that spans the waters of many countries and some waters controlled by no-one. This creates the same huge problem for pollock that cod faced. Although some or all countries involved may be making good management decisions some may not. Additionally, the “no mans land’ area can have little or no regulations. Also, as these fish wander across a large range, they pass through various waters throughout their life cycle. Without a single management agency, it is difficult to ensure pollock is protected during critical stages of reproduction. This is a crucial lesson learned from cod that should be applied to pollock.


    I like how in your post, you brought up probable solutions to the problems we see in the pollock that were also seen in the cod. I agree with most of what you have posted in the comparison and it is very similar to what I said myself. However, I wouldn’t say that the main difference in the two is that one replaces the other. I would say a major difference would be age of the fishery.


    I think it is also important to note that pollock show genetic differences between geographic populations. This should come into play during the management of the stocks. If one area is being fished too heavily the genetic diversity within the stock is going to dwindle making the species more susceptible to disease or other factors.


    I think you made a very good point that there ought to be a single management agency for pollock, as that would make it much easier to maintain a healthy population. When you have multiple countries with multiple agencies it becomes a bureaucratic mess, and often caves to public pressure for more, more, more fish. It especially doesn’t help that there is the donut hole, of no man’s land, where there is little regulation.


    I think the idea of a single management agency is very interesting. I wonder if a community based management strategy would work for a species like pollock.


    I like how you pointed out how boundaries of international waters can affect a fishery because of the difficulty to regulate whos catching them and how many are being caught.


    I think you hit the nail on the head, you made some great points. I really like the idea of a single management system so long as its regulated properly.


    I agree that fish travelling through various countries waters is a problem we have faced with many fisheries. Unless multiple countries are all on the same boat with how we want to sustain our fisheries, there is really no way to manage these fisheries.

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