AlaskaDigest

Posted: Monday, December 15, 2003

Cod, pollock quotas boosted for 2004 groundfish season

ANCHORAGE - Federal fisheries officials, buoyed by the overall abundance of groundfish, on Sunday approved an increased 2004 harvest of Pacific cod and pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to allow a harvest of up to 215,500 metric tons of Pacific cod, up 8,000 metric tons from 2003, and nearly 1.5 million metric tons of pollock, up 240 metric tons from this year's quota.

"We are very pleased that the (total allowable catch of) Pacific cod is higher than it was last year," said Jeff Stephan, manager of the United Fishermens' Marketing Association at Kodiak.

Earlier in the day, Loh-Lee Low of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle, told the council that the biomass, or total pounds of fish available to be caught, is extremely healthy.

Federal regulations limit the total harvest in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to 2 million metric tons of varied species, ranging from pollock and cod to yellowfin sole, rock sole and Atka mackerel.

The actual catch of some two dozen species of groundfish caught in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands in 2003 came to about 1.9 million metric tons in 2003.

Senate panel examining pull-tab industry may issue report today

FAIRBANKS - A state Senate subcommittee charged with examining the pull-tab industry could issue recommendations on gaming after a final public hearing in Fairbanks today.

Whether pull-tab money spent in a community should stay there is one of the questions facing the panel, which includes Sen. Ralph Seekins, a Fairbanks Republican, and Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French.

Seekins said some recommendations to the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee may follow, but it remains to be seen if there would be enough steam behind them to carry them through the Legislature.

Limiting nonprofits to making pull-tab money in their home towns would be akin to restricting free trade, said Glen Alt, president of the Midnight Suns Fastpitch Softball. His organization is one of the Juneau groups that belong to the Multiple Charities Association Co-op, which raises money from pull-tab sales in eight communities, including Kenai, Soldotna and Ninilchik.



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