The Bering Sea is one of the wildest regions in the world and the source of half the seafood caught in the USA. Alaska trawl fisheries are widely considered to be the standard by which “sustainable” management is measured in the US.
The truth is a bit more complicated. Alaska's billion-dollar fishing industry is one of the most closely monitored in the world, but there are several causes for concern. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has been unable to prevent the decline of species such as pollock, Pacific cod, halibut, or Atka mackerel. Three of the region's main pollock fisheries have been closed or severely limited due to overfishing: two in the Bering Sea - the Aleutian Island and Bogoslov fisheries; and one in the Gulf of Alaska, the Shelikof Strait roe fishery.
Today, the vast majority of the fishing pressure is on the spawning aggregation in the eastern Bering Sea, home to the last pollock stock capable of supporting a sizable commercial fishery. Crab populations, managed by AK Fish and Game have dropped dramatically. Braxton Dew, a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) biologist, referred to the collapse of the red king crab in Bristol Bay in the early 1980s as "one of the most spectacular crashes in the history of U.S. fisheries management."
Learn more about the fish of the Bering Sea