The A season for the lucrative pollock fishery is underway in the Bering Sea, with a quota of about 1.258 million metric tons, with relatively mild weather conditions initially reported. Winds are light and forecasters predicted temperatures in the 30s, with a strong possibility of rain during the weekend.
Base prices for this multi-million dollar fishery are not yet posted, but Frank Kelty, resource analyst for the city of Unalaska, is estimating that given a slightly larger total allowable catch over last year, revenues will be close to those of a year ago, even if the ex-vessel value of the pollock drops slightly.
Because of Steller sea lion restrictions, the National Marine Fisheries Service has already rolled over a portion of the pollock quota from Adak into other Bering Sea fisheries.
A season pollock, which is about 40 percent of the quota, gets a higher value because of its roe content. Still the B season pollock fishery covers about 60 percent of the quota. The versatile pollock is in high demand in domestic, European and Asian markets, for products ranging from roe to fillets and surimi.
Kelty estimates that the municipality of Unalaska will reap about $5.5 million overall in taxes for the A and B seasons of the pollock fishery.