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Alaska cod could get a big boost from slashed cod quotas elsewhere

by the Fish Site Editor
20 June 2006, at 1:00am

ALASKA - Alaska boasts one of the world&#39;s most abundant cod fisheries and this year nearly 500 million pounds will be harvested from the Bering sea. Another 150-million pounds will be added from the Gulf of Alaska. As with its other fish, Alaska cod competes in a global market and the situation is less rosy in other world oceans. Industry reports are already predicting higher prices for the world&#39;s most popular fish. Intrafish reports that the cod quota in the Barents sea, one of the world&#39;s largest cod resources, could be cut by one third next year. International managers from 19 countries are recommending that Barents cod, fished mainly by Norway and Russia, be slashed to 680 million pounds, a drop of 356 million from this year. Managers say one of the biggest problems is illegal fishing activity, estimated at one quarter of the total catch. Barents sea cod accounts for most of the cod used in Europe. Some buyers will switch to other whitefish like pollock, but cod&#39;s strong tradition means many will buy it no matter what the price. In other cod news - fishermen in Newfoundland will be allowed to catch cod for the first time in three years. The catch limit there is just five million pounds. Seafood.com says that region used to average catches of nearly 600 million pounds in the 1980&#39;s. The cod crash cost more than 30,000 people their jobs, the largest mass layoff in Canada&#39;s history. Watch for farmed cod to soon be filling some of the market demand for the world&#39;s most popular fish. Farmed production in Norway, for example, is pegged at 26 million pounds this year. Industry watchers predict that in just ten years world farmed cod production could top 440 million pounds. <i>Source: Alaska Report</i>

the Fish Site Editor