Peter Baker, who manages the Pew Environment Group's New England Fisheries Campaigns, today issued the following statement in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announcement that it would be raising the Annual Catch Limit for pollock by nearly 500%.
“National Marine Fisheries Service has taken a positive step in using the best available science to quickly adjust the pollock annual catch limit. This action will allow the new sector system a better chance of succeeding by safely increasing the pollock catch limits, which will help provide the fleet more time to catch designated limits of other groundfish stocks. Effective sector management in New England is crucial to rebuilding severely depleted fish stocks and restoring the resources that support traditional fishing communities.”
As required by law, NMFS is basing the increase on the best available science recently made available through an updated stock assessment. This latest peer reviewed assessment was conducted by a team of scientists at the New England Fisheries Science Center, including scientists from a number of independent institutions. It showed that pollock in U.S. waters in the North Atlantic is no longer overfished nor subject to overfishing.
By utilizing new data and improved stock assessments, this review produced reliable new scientific information. The resulting decision about pollock should increase support for the sector system and allow the fleet to continue fishing as the new system is implemented.