The Pollock Project


I’m glad to say I’m not the only person interested in the development of Pacific fisheries. Dr. Kevin Bailey at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is interested in the development of the pollock fishery. Here’s an abstract of what we’re working on:

We propose to compile an oral history of the Alaskan pollock fishery from key NOAA scientists and stakeholders.  A decade after passage of the FCMA in 1976, an obscure Alaskan fish called pollock became one of the world’s largest and most successful fisheries. Today, Alaska pollock comprises 40% of the US fisheries landings with a value over $1 billion. Little attention has been paid to the history of fishing in the North Pacific, and especially that of pollock. Several factors converged to influence the growth of the fishery and massive buildup of harvesting capacity. Many people knowledgeable about the history are elderly or in poor health; we need to preserve the information before it is lost forever. How did the perspective of the fishery shift over the past 40 years? It is timely to investigate the events that led to the present state, as many pollock stocks are now depleted. This product could be a keystone contribution of NOAA to knowledge of Alaskan fisheries. The transcribed oral histories will be made available on NOAA and academic websites. The research will expand NOAA’s cooperation with universities and we plan to collaborate with the Voices from the Fisheries project.

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