Representatives from several nations met Sept. 1-3 in Kaliningrad, Russia, to talk about the possibility of pollock fishing in the Donut Hole, a zone of international water in the middle of the Bering Sea.
The conclusion was the same as for the past several years – no commercial harvest allowed in 2009.
The pollock biomass in the deep Aleutian Basin is still too small to allow for fishing under a 1995 international agreement on pollock management in the central Bering Sea, said Loh-Lee Low, a U.S. fisheries scientist.
China, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Russia and the United States are parties to the international agreement. China, however, did not send a representative to Kaliningrad conference.
The next conference is scheduled for next summer in Portland, Ore.
The Donut Hole takes its name from its shape at the center of the Bering, beyond the 200-mile limit of any nation.
The zone used to produce prodigious catches of pollock well in excess of 1 million metric tons from 1986 through 1989, according to U.S. figures.
Such catches roughly matched the enormous U.S. pollock catches in the eastern Bering Sea, home of the nation’s largest fishery by weight.
But the Donut Hole clearly isn’t the awesome fishing hole it used to be.
“There were two Korean vessels that conducted ‘trial’ fishing in 2007 for about five days each and caught a grand total of one pollock each,” Loh told The Highliner.
No trial fishing took place this summer, he said.