MARKET REPORT | BUYING TIPS | HEALTH / NUTRITION
Although West Coast fisheries biologists say fishermen off California, Oregon and Washington could catch as much as 25,000 metric tons of Dover on a sustainable basis, annual catches the past few years have hovered just above 5,000 metric tons. Part of the lack of Dover production is due to the catch share, or individual quota, management regime, which was enacted in 2011. That greatly reduced the size of the groundfish fleet and the boats left focus on higher value species like petrale sole or black cod. As the old fishermen’s axiom goes, “We don’t fish for fish, we fish for money.”
Another problem is that the market for Dover is still limited to the western U.S., especially the Northwest. Although with fresh fillets selling for just under $4/lb. Dover remains a good value, producers have yet to spend much effort developing new markets.
Processors have upped what they pay for Dover from $.40/lb. two years ago to $.44/lb. last year, but that’s not even enough to cover increased operating expenses. So for the foreseeable future, fishermen will turn to Dover when there’s nothing better to do.
Pacific Dover sole is sold fresh and frozen whole, headed and gutted as well as dressed, and in fillets, however it is nearly always filleted due to its slimy skin. Dover sole from the Pacific has a delicate taste and firm-textured flesh, although it is not as mild as European Dover sole. Since flatfish quality can vary immensely, buyers recommend looking for Dover sole that has uniform color and lacks bruises. They also recommend against purchasing these fish whole since soft-fleshed fish may not be detected until after they’ve been filleted. Availability of Dover fresh sole varies throughout the year while frozen or thawed Dover sole primarily from Alaska is available year-round.
Dover sole may be substituted for other types of flounders and soles.
SPECIES VULNERABILITY | ABUNDANCE | HABITAT IMPACTS | BYCATCH | MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS
Pacific Dover sole is not actually sole but a flatfish more closely related to flounder. Larger in size than European Dover sole, Dover sole found in the Pacific is long-lived and has medium fecundity. Dover sole are also known as “slime” or “slippery” sole because they excrete mucous that makes them difficult to hold.
Dover sole, found in the waters off California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska, have variable abundance that is considered healthy overall. Dover sole levels in the Gulf of Alaska have been increasing in the past 15 years and the biomass there is now more than double the target population level.
Dover sole are primarily caught using trawls. Other gear used includes hand lines and traps. While trawls can negatively impact rocky seafloors and reefs, the trawls in this fishery target the flatfish in the soft muddy areas where they live. Those areas tend to be more resilient to trawling, so the impact is minimal.
There is little bycatch in the Pacific Dover sole fishery, helped by a relatively new catch-share management plan on the West Coast and gear improvements that help trawler avoid bycatch hotspots, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
Dover sole in the Pacific are managed with other deep-water flatfish such as petrale sole. Management limits on petrale sole, which was overfished, are expected to have a positive impact on Dover sole, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. Management measures in the fishery include gear restrictions, limited entry permitting, a catch-share program, area closures, and conservative annual catch limits.
The supply of Atlantic pollock, a.k.a. saithe, is declining slightly due to quota reductions on both sides of the Atlantic. The single biggest Atlantic pollock fishery, which is off Norway, should produce landings of about 140,000 metric tons this year, down about 6,000 metric tons from last year. At the annual Groundfish Forum, which was held in Rome this fall, the supply was predicted to be about the same in 2015.
Closer to home it looks like landings of Atlantic pollock from the U.S. and Canada fisheries will be about 10,000 metric tons, which should be about evenly split between the two countries. U.S. fishermen, though, may be hard pressed to catch their full quota due to the increasingly strict cod by-catch regulations, as cod stocks in the Gulf of Maine are at record low levels.
Imports of twice-frozen Atlantic pollock fillets from China have dropped sharply this year. Through August, U.S. imports from China were just 441 metric tons, compared to about 1,000 metric tons last year. In spite of the sharp drop in supply, the average price to importers dropped from $1.14/lb. to $1.04/lb.
On the fresh side of the business, prices on the Fulton Fish market in New York have been running between $1.50-$3.50/lb. for whole fish, depending upon supply.
Atlantic pollock is low in saturated fat and is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. The flesh is firm and white, and has a sweet, delicate flavor. This pollock is a member of the cod family but distinguished from cod by its greenish hue, paler belly, and brownish green back. It is sold whole, in fillets, and steaks that are fresh, frozen, or smoked. Atlantic pollock are larger, slightly darker flesh, and have higher oil content than Alaskan pollock, which is actually a different species.
Atlantic pollock may be substituted for Atlantic cod, monkfish, sea bass.
Atlantic pollock matures quickly and has high reproduction rates, which are characteristics that make its inherent vulnerability to fishing pressure low.
Although the Canadian pollock fishery was historically overfished, it is currently recovering. In the United States, the Atlantic pollock fishery is rather small but considered healthy. Norwegian pollock stocks are also stable and healthy. In Iceland, overfishing is occurring and the Atlantic pollock stock status is poor, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The gear used to catch Atlantic pollock varies by region, but consists primarily of bottom trawls, bottom gillnets and Danish seines. Bottom trawls and Danish seines can heavily impact the seafloor and damage ocean habitat while the purse seines that are predominant in the small Norwegian fishery have little contact with the seafloor.
Bycatch levels in the Canadian, Norwegian, and Iceland pollock fisheries remain unknown, although the risk is considered to be moderate based on the gear used, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Bottom gillnets risk ensnaring marine animals, and have been a high concern in both the U.S. and Canada due to documented incidents where protected species were caught. In addition, lost gillnets in the eastern Atlantic have entangled non-targeted fish long after they’ve been abandoned.
Management measures in the U.S. as well as the North Sea or Northeast Arctic regions of Norway are considered highly effective. They include area closures, size limits, gear restrictions, dockside monitoring, logbook reporting, catch quotas, and observer coverage. In Iceland and Canada, extensive management measures are in place but total allowable catch levels have still been set higher than scientific recommendations. Management effectiveness in these countries continues to be a moderate concern.
This year’s quota for this prized fish is up again to just under 3 million pounds, as the stocks along the East Cast are considered fully rebuilt. As of May 14th fishermen had caught about 43% of their quota. Landings should pick up in late May and June as more fish migrate up the East Coast to Virginia and New Jersey, which are the two top black sea bass producing states. As landings pick up, prices to distributors for whole black sea bass should stabilize between $4 to $5/lb.
Black sea bass flesh is firm and lean, with a mild, delicate flavor. According to some buyers, black sea bass that are caught with hooks tend to be the best quality, followed by trapped fish. Make sure the uncooked flesh is sparkling white and translucent, not opague. Black sea bass tends to only be frozen when the market is glutted or demand is low and because it is a hardy fish, it is also sold live.
Black sea bass can be used as a substitution for a variety of snapper.
Due to elevated mercury levels, the EDF recommends:
FISHERY IMPACTS ON STOCK | HABITAT IMPACTS | BYCATCH | MANAGEMENT EFFECTIVENESS
Fishery Impacts on Stock
Black sea bass are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they start as females and mature into males. They have high fecundity but they grow slowly. Black sea bass are divided into two fisheries, the Mid-Atlantic and the South Atlantic, with the line marked by Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. In 2000 the Mid-Atlantic stock was declared overfished. In 2005 scientists discovered overfishing was occurring in the South Atlantic. In recent years both populations have recovered and an early 2013 Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch report stated they were classified as not overfished.
Most black sea bass are caught by commercial fishermen using with pots and hook and line gear, which has a low to moderate effect on the seafloor. Some black sea bass in the Mid-Atlantic is also caught using otter trawls, which have higher rates of habitat damage, particularly to live coral and reef habitats. For this reason, the Monterey Bay Aquarium gave the otter trawl for northern black sea bass a red ranking. Trawling has been banned in the South Atlantic for more than 20 years.
Black sea bass fisheries have gear requirements such as escape vents in pots to prevent undersized fish from being caught. Bycatch in pots is minor because the gear is not usually baited for black sea bass, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. In the Mid-Atlantic, otter trawls are nonselective so there is more unintended bycatch. The Monterey Bay Aquarium reported that the Mid-Atlantic otter trawl fishery was shown to have a negative impact on loggerhead turtles, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
In the Mid-Atlantic fishery, strict management measures such as minimum size limits, minimum mesh requirements for trawls, a moratorium on entry into the fishery, and closed seasons have helped black sea bass stocks recover from being overfished. The post-2005 rebuilding plan for the South Atlantic included limits on permits, minimum size limits, gear restrictions as well as rules that prohibited commercial fishing once the annual quota has been met. The Monterey Bay Aquarium called fishery management in both regions highly effective in its 2013 Seafood Watch report.
Give Arctic char farmers credit. They don’t give up easily. For almost 20 years the global production of farmed Arctic char has been stuck at about 4,000 metric tons a year. And that’s despite tens of millions of dollars in research and development that have been poured into the industry by governments and private companies. The biggest char farmer in Canada, which still produces only about 175 metric tons a year after being in operation more than 30 years.
Iceland is likely to remain the only significant source of char on a reliable basis. The two large land-based farms there are producing about two-thirds of the country’s annual harvest of about 3,200 metric tons. Some 90 percent of those farms’ production is exported to the U.S. Don’t expect any breakthrough on char production in the immediate future. Char farmers are faced with soaring feed costs, which is making a very expensive fish even more so. Upscale chefs who can menu a char dinner for $30 and up still love the fish, but that market is relatively small.
Buyers consider Artic char a good substitute for farm-raised salmon because it has a more delicate texture and clean, mild flavor. Farmed Arctic char are sold fresh whole, and fresh or frozen as boneless fillets with the skin off or on, and canned. Farmed char has redder skin than wild char (more silver skinned) and cream-colored spots, however arctic char farmers add a synthetic pigment to the feed to give the fish a consistent pink-orange color. The high fat content in Arctic char makes it well-suited for dry-heat cooking such as broiling and smoking. Arctic char tends to be considered of very high quality and not widely available making it expensive.
fresh & frozen products
Arctic char may be used as a substitute for farmed salmon.
Health & Nutrition
DATA | EFFLUENT | HABITAT IMPACTS | FEED | STOCK SOURCE | DISEASE/CHEMICALS | ESCAPES
Arctic char farming facilities exist in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Austria and Italy but the majority of the fish comes from Iceland, Canada, and the United States. In Iceland, industry and production statistics come from government or independently verifiable sources but there are little data in English about ecosystem and farm effluent discharge, according to a recent Seafood Watch report. In the United States and Canada, where the industry is smaller, production and industry statistics are lacking. Seafood Watch gave the U.S., Canada, and Iceland moderate ratings overall for data availability.
Operations are primarily land-based and either use recirculating tank systems that treat and reuse wastewater or flow-through systems. With recirculating tank systems, the water quality is closely controlled. There have been increased nutrients found near some flow-through systems discharging freshwater effluent into coastal waterways but the overall concern over effluent impact is low, according to a recent Seafood Watch report.
Land-based Arctic char farming generally takes place in closed, recirculating systems that treat their water so there is a low risk of pollution and negative effects on native habitats. In Iceland, flow-through farms send freshwater effluent into coastal areas that have high currents, preventing waste from accumulating, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In Sweden, Arctic char operations are intentionally located in freshwater reservoirs that are depleted and unproductive because the discharges increase the amount of nutrients in the water, providing a beneficial effect. A Seafood Watch report found that Arctic char aquaculture in Iceland, Canada, and the United States has a minimal impact on habitats there.
Since Arctic char is a carnivorous fish, it has a high dietary protein requirement. Some farmers feed Arctic char fish meal and fish oil from wild-caught fish, which may put pressure on those populations. Feed formulations are often proprietary, making them difficult for outside scientists to assess, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A recent Seafood Watch report gave Arctic char farming in Iceland, Canada, and the United States a moderate score for feed because it relies on crops that humans eat.
All Arctic char aquaculture stock is produced in hatcheries from captive broodstock, making the industry independent from wild stocks for sourcing, the Monterey Bay Aquarium reported.
Arctic char has a complex genetic makeup that makes it challenging for farmers to selectively breed char with favorable characteristics. However, the fish are suited to growing in smaller, densely stocked habitats. Disease transmission risk is very low in Arctic char aquaculture due to careful management. The species has a low need for chemical use or treatments over multiple production cycles, according to a Seafood Watch report.
Don’t look for any good buys on snow crab this winter. The Alaska opilio fishery, which got off to an early start in December – a month earlier than normal – has a quota of about 25,000 metric tons, a reduction of 22% from last season. More than half of the catch will be exported again this year. Chinese processors, who will take almost 60% of the U.S. catch, crank out a variety of value-added products, mainly for the Japanese market but now also for the booming Chinese domestic market. Last year, Chinese processors paid an average price of just under $5/lb. for bulk sections, FOB Dutch Harbor.
Fortunately for U.S. seafood buyers, though, snow crab imports reached a record of almost 60,000 metric tons last year, an increase of 33% over 2012. Most of the increase in supply came from more Canadian production being exported to the U.S., as Japanese buyers reduced their purchases. U.S. imports of Canadian snow crab jumped almost 20% to 44,000 metric tons through the first 11 months of 2013, which is about 75% of Canada’s total production. In spite of the jump in supply, the price of 5/8 oz. Canadian opilio sections to distributors climbed through the second half of 2013 and early 2014 from a low of $4.70/lb. to about $5.50/lb. Look for prices to stay high until this spring when production from the 2014 Canadian season starts hitting the U.S. market.
Most snow crab consumed in the US is imported, with 80% coming from Canada. Best-quality, high-price snow crab comes from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where some Canadian processors use cryogenic freezers that produce a superior product, but most of this crab goes to the Japanese market. Most snow crab sections will be packed with some broken legs in the box and should be checked for excess glaze and broken pieces—the industry standard for broken pieces is 10%. Snow crabs are usually sold as sections or “clusters” (4 walking legs and a claw arm), typically graded 3/5 oz., 5/8 oz. and 8 ups; with 5/8 oz. sections compromising the bulk of the production. The meat yield from snow crab is about 17% compared to approximately 25% in king and Dungeness. The dirty brown barnacle-covered shells of older snow crab shells may look unappetizing but can have higher meat content, making them a good bargain, according to some buyers.
The affordability of snow crab make them a good alternative to king crab and shrimp.
There are no food safety or contaminant concerns for snow crab.
SUMMARY | BIOLOGY | HABITAT
Snow crab – named for their sweet, delicate, snow-white meat – is one of Alaska’s signature crab fisheries. Although the Alaska snow crab fishery has had its ups and downs over the years, management has effectively responded to these fluctuations. Alaska snow crab is now above its target population level and managers boosted the harvest limit for 2011/2012 by 64 percent to nearly 90 million pounds.In 2005, the derby-style fishery – where anyone could enter the fishery and the fishery was closed when the catch limit was reached – was replaced with an individual fishing quota (IFQ). Under the IFQ management system, individual fishermen are given a share of the harvest and can catch their share at any time during the fishing season. This has resulted in a safer and more efficient fishery, as fishermen can take weather and economic factors into account when deciding when to fish.
In Alaskan waters, female snow crabs can carry up to nearly 100,000 eggs, depending on their size. They hatch their larvae in the spring when there is plenty of food in the water column. Larvae, which look like tiny shrimp, live in the water and feed on plankton. The larvae molt and grow through three stages before becoming megalops, which look like crabs with long tails. Megalops seek out suitable habitat, settle, molt, and metamorphose into the first crab stage. From this point forward they look like miniature versions of the adult crabs, and will live on the bottom for the rest of their lives.Snow crabs, like all crustaceans, can only grow by molting, because their hard shells (exoskeletons) prevent a gradual increase in size. When a crab is ready to molt, they absorb a lot of water and swell up inside their old shell until it pops open. Then they wriggle out of the old shell and absorb even more water to increase their size. Right after molting they are very soft and vulnerable to predators until their new shell hardens. Snow crabs molt several times a year for the first couple of years, but as they grow larger they molt less frequently. When they have reached sexual maturity, both females and males have a terminal molt, after which they never molt again. Females seldom grow larger than 3 inches in shell width while males can reach 6 inches. Scientists estimate that snow crabs may live for up to 20 years.Snow crabs will eat almost anything they can catch and break open with their claws, including fish, shrimp, crabs, worms, clams, brittle stars, snails, algae, and sponges. They will also scavenge on anything dead they find. In turn, they are eaten by seals, sea otters, octopi, other crabs, and a wide variety of fish.
Snow crabs have a wide distribution. In Asia, they’re found in the Japan Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. In the Atlantic, they’re found from Greenland south to Maine. In Alaska they live in the Bering, Beaufort, and Chukchi Seas, although they’re only harvested in the Bering Sea. They prefer soft sandy or muddy bottoms, typically in water less than 650 feet deep, where they can burrow if threatened by predators and where they can feed on the animals living in the sediment.
FISHERY SCIENCE | FISHERY MANAGEMENT
Scientists with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center annually survey the Bering Sea crab stocks to estimate their abundance. NOAA Fisheries and the State of Alaska use this information to determine the status of the stocks and to set the harvest limits for the following fishing season.Scientists use model estimates of the number of mature males in the population (mature male biomass) at the time of mating as the measure for population status of snow crab. Mature male biomass has increased since its low in 2002, and is currently estimated to be at a sustainable level.
The Alaska snow crab fishery is managed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab Fishery Management Plan defers management of crab fisheries to the State of Alaska with federal oversight. State regulations must comply with the fishery management plan, the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable federal laws.The Alaska snow crab fishery is currently managed according to three “S’s” – size, sex, and season. Only male crabs of a certain size may be harvested, and fishing is not allowed during mating and molting periods. These measures help ensure that crabs are able to reproduce and replace the ones that are harvested.Every year, managers set the harvest limit for the next fishing season using the most recent estimates of crab abundance. Vessels carry vessel monitoring systems (satellite communications systems used to monitor fishing activities) and must report their landings electronically, so managers can monitor the fishery in real time and anticipate any issues. Observers are required to be on 20 percent of the vessels in the fishery. They collect data on the retained crabs, discarded crabs, and bycatch, and document any violations of fishing regulations. Fishermen must install escape panels and rings on their pots to prevent ghost fishing (when lost pots continue to capture and kill species) and to reduce bycatch. NOAA Fisheries also runs a voluntary buyback program to reduce excess participation in crab fisheries.
Snow crabs are found in the Eastern Bering Sea as well as Atlantic Canada. This type of crab is short-lived, sexually mature at about four years and produces hundreds of thousands of eggs, factors that help them maintain population stability but can also make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. Snow crab abundance is low, according to the Blue Ocean Institute. In the 1990s, North American snow crab populations were overfished. In 2011, stock assessments showed that the snow crab population in the Eastern Bering Sea had recovered from an overfished condition, according to a Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch report from late 2012. A report on the Canadian fishery stated low concern about stocks in Eastern Nova Scotia and the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence but moderate concern about declines in Newfoundland and Labrador snow crab populations.
The gear commonly used to fish snow crab tends to consist of large steel mesh traps or pots that soak on the seafloor for one to three days. Gear effects from pots tend to be minimal in this fishery since they are usually set in soft, muddy habitats, according to the Blue Ocean Institute. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service reported that sand and silt environments are less likely to be affected than harder habitats.
Most bycatch in this fishery consists of nontargeted crab, females and juveniles. In the Bering Sea, there is concern about Tanner crab bycatch, which are not experiencing overfishing but have medium vulnerability to fishing pressure. Some snow crab pots also catch octopus, sponges, sea coral, sea stars and flatfish that are discarded at sea. The pots used to catch snow crab have been modified with escape panels, escape rings and a specified tunnel size to reduce the likelihood of bycatch, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service and the Blue Ocean Institute.
Snow crab fisheries in the U.S. and Canada have a number of management measures in place, including catch limits, gear restrictions, minimum size limits, and area closures for molting and mating, according to the Blue Ocean Institute. Management of snow crab fisheries in the Eastern Bering Sea, Eastern Nova Scotia and the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is considered highly effective, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In Newfoundland and Labrador the management was labeled moderately effective due to a lack of stock dynamics models. Stocks do appear to be recovering in those areas, although the role of management practices in the increased abundance is unclear.
BUYING TIPS | HEALTH / NUTRITION
The highest quality lingcod is caught by hook-and-line gear and when the fish is bled and put on ice immediately. Most lingcod is caught as bycatch in other fisheries, but there are some targed fisheries, namely Southeast Alaska. Raw lingcod flesh can have a blue-green tint, this is perfectly normal, and when cooked it turns a snow white color. Look for a grayish flesh color and/or blood spots to signal mishandling and dull eyes and faded gills on whole lingcod indicate a lack of freshness.
Many chefs prefer lingcod to halibut.
Lingcod is neither a cod, nor a ling, but rather it is a Pacific greenling. Found only in the North Pacific Ocean, U.S. and Canadian fishermen have been harvesting lingcod for more than 100 years. Nicknamed "bucketmouth" for its large head, lingcod have 18 sharp teeth. The body of the lingcod tapers from its head to its tail and its back is usually a variation of dark gray, brown, and greenish colors with copper colored spotting on the upper back.
Lingcod grow quickly and can reach lengths of five feet weighing 80lbs.. Lingcod can live up to 20 years with males reaching maturity around age 2 (20" long) and females age 3 (30" long). The spawing process of lingcod involves males claiming suitable territory for nesting, females making only a brief appearance to lay eggs, and males guarding the nests until they hatch in 8-10 weeks. As lingcod develop they move from eating zooplankton as larvae, shellfish as small juveniles, small finfish (such as herring) as large juveniles, until they become aggressive predators as adults feeding on bottom dwelling fish and shellfish. Larval and juvenile lingcod are important food sources for salmon and rockfish, while marine mammals and sharks rely on large juvenile and adult lingcod as food sources.
Lingcod are found in the northeastern Pacific Ocean from northern Baja California to Kodiak Island and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska, but they are most abundant between Washington and British Columbia. Adult lingcod prefer rocky bottoms at depths of 30-300 feet with males showing very little movement from where they were born and females migrating seasonally to spawn.
There are currently no population estimates of lingcod in Alaska and the populations along the U.S.West Coast are estimated from analyzing data from resource surveys and fishery monitoring.
The State of Alaska manages the lingcod fishery in both state and federal waters of Alaska. To protect this species from overharvest, lingcod fisheries in Alaska are conservatively managed to ensure enough fish are left to reproduce and replenish the population. Management measures:
Current management of lingcod on the West Coast is covered under the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan:
Since January 2011, the West Coast groundfish trawl fishery has been managed under a trawl rationalization catch share program. Managers establish annual catch limits based on the health of each fish stock and then allocate a share of this catch limit to individual fishermen or groups of fishermen. Fishermen can decide how and when to catch their share – preferably when weather, markets, and business conditions are most favorable, allowing the fishery the flexibility to be more environmentally responsible, safer, more efficient, and more valuable. The goal is to allow fishermen to catch more of the healthy target stocks (such as lingcod) without increasing their harvest of overfished stocks.
Lingcod is actually a bottom-dwelling Pacific greenling harvested from Alaska to California with the most concentrated around British Columbia and Washington. They grow quickly, the females are fairly fertile and the males guard nests until the eggs hatch although many animals eat the eggs. Seafood Watch reports from 2014 give lingcod a medium inherent vulnerability score overall. In 1999 lingcod was declared overfished but several years of strict catch limits helped the fishery get rebuilt ahead of schedule in 2005. Assessments from 2009 showed the stock to be well over target levels, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.
Lingcod are mainly caught by bottom trawls and handlines in the groundfish fishery. They can get accidentally caught by the bottom longline and salmon troll fisheries, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service reported. Bottom trawlers can have a significant impact on the ocean habitat but restrictions in place limit the use of this gear, somewhat mitigating the effect, according to 2014 Seafood Watch reports for the West Coast and British Columbia.
Although bycatch used to be an issue in the lingcod fisheries, bycatch went down 75% following the implementation of a management plan on the West Coast in 2011, the Environmental Defense Fund noted. Improved gear has also helped trawlers targeting lingcod avoid bycatch hotspots. There are generally few true “bycatch” species caught in substantial amounts in the groundfish fisheries, Seafood Watch reports from 2014 noted.
In Alaska, lingcod is managed by the Department of Fish and Game. The lingcod fisheries are managed with other groundfish by the NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council on the West Coast, and by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in British Columbia. The catch-share management plan implemented in 2011 on the West Coast has been credited with bringing down bycatch numbers in the fishery. Management measures include gear and catch restrictions, minimum size limits, and seasonal closures. Seafood Watch found that the West Coast and Canadian lingcod management regimes had strong aspects. However, a 2014 report noted challenges with management strategy, implementation, and recovery of stocks of concern in British Columbia.
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