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Making the Effort to Keep Alaska's Waters Clean and Bountiful

Alaska is famed for its bountiful seafood harvests. The state of succulent crab and wild salmon are loved through the world by seafood connoisseurs and foodies alike. What makes Alaska's seafood so special is the state's steadfast commitment to sustainability. It's a rock solid fact that Alaska and its North Pacific fisheries are considered the bar in the US and in many parts of the world. Sustainable harvest off Alaskan waters have been maintained for over a thirty year period. Alaska's fish stocks are considered well above the minimum thresholds; This is especially significant due to the fact that the majority of the world's fish stocks are depleted or overexploited on the brink of collapsing altogether. Some scientists have even estimated that the world's ocean will will be completely depleted within the next 40 or 50 years. Strict enforcement of Alaskan conservation laws has meant that Alaska has become the model to follow in terms of fisheries management, oversight, adherrence to a credo of sustainability and efficient follow through in practice practice.

Fishery managers engage in an ecosystem oriented approach. They are in large part guided by scientific research; it is, as a matter of fact, scientists who detect fish yield and catch levels each season. Strict quotas are put in place based on their observations. Scientists do participate in real time shipboard monitoring; they go out with the fishermen to enforce catch policy and to help solve problems like bycatch and minimizing environmental destruction.

Alaska also uses Marine Protected Areas; these began in the early 1990's. The aim of these protected areas is to protect the fragile ocean floor ecosystem from the systematic damage done by bottom trawling and dredging. The MPA's also protect marine species like sea lions from fishing boats and potential loss of food due to overfishing.

Today quotas have replaced an open access system; meaning that not everyone can fish when and where they'd like. Even small town Alaskans need special permits to go fishing; and while not everyone agrees with the rules, the enforcement of Alaskan conservation laws is adhered to. Systems must be imposed to protect the ocean and its fish. The world should take note.


Source by Allie Moxley