The decline of Alaska's pollock fishery is raising questions about fisheries sustainability. Is a decline in fish and fishing ok for a fishery certified as sustainable? Is the decline a sign of good management, or proof of bad management?
This year, scientists say pollock numbers are down. In response, managers are poised to reduce fishing limits. Critics view fishing cutbacks as evidence of unsustainable fishing. In contrast, supporters say fishing cutbacks show managers are focusing on sustainability and reducing fishing to ensure the fish recover. Only time will tell who is right.
This debate has played out for New Zealand hoki, and now Alaska pollock, a leading fishery for the Marine Stewardship Council's sustainability certification program.
Blogfish has seen many fisheries fail to cut quotas when fish decline, so at least some effort is being made to protect fish. That's a good thing. And certification helps keep managers on the straight and narrow, so certification does help.