• Fishing for pollock in a sea of change: a history and analysis of the Bering Sea pollock fishery

      Strong, James; Criddle, Keith R.; Adkison, Milo D.; Kruse, Gordon H. (2011-08)
      The development and evolution of the eastern Bering Sea fishery for walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) is retraced, its current economic and institutional structure is modeled, and the resiliency of that structure to substantive changes in pollock biomass and fuel costs is explored. Small variations in exvessel prices, total allowable catches, or allocation of catches between seasons and among industry sectors can lead to large changes to first wholesale revenues. Similarly, changes in fuel prices, changes in technology, changes in regulation, and changes in the spatial distribution of catches can lead to changes in harvesting or processing costs. Together, these changes affect the relative profitability of the inshore and offshore sectors, which can, in turn, affect the benefits that accrue to communities, the evolution of regulation, and create pressure to reallocate sector shares. The model indicates that first wholesale revenues are maximized when pollock harvests are maximized. However, legal barriers to the transfer of allocations between sectors can lead to under-harvests when product prices are low, fuel costs are high, or when the most productive fishing grounds are in the northwest regions of the eastern Bering Sea Exclusive Economic Zone.