Overfishing of Pollock Risks Collapse of World’s Largest Food Fishery, Endangers Sea Lions, Fur Seal

Starting Tuesday, Greenpeace will air television ads in Alaska and Seattle calling for the end of overfishing in Alaska's pollock fishery the world's largest food fishery. Both broadcast and cable outlets are included in the ad buy.

Pollock is the fish found in frozen fish sticks, McDonald's Filet-O-Fish, and the imitation crabmeat found in California rolls.

According to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council's own scientists, the pollock population has declined 50 percent in one year putting its long-term survival at serious risk. The decline of pollock puts endangered Steller sea lions, fur seals, Alaska native communities, and the long-term economic viability of Alaska's fishery in jeopardy.

The collapse of the New England and Canadian cod fishery (a close relative to the pollock), the previous title-holder for world's largest food fishery, put 40,000 fishermen out of work and wreaked havoc on the Atlantic ecosystem.

To view the commercial, go to: http://www.greenpeace.org. For broadcast quality footage or high-quality photos, email jane.kochersperger@greenpeace.org or marcos.davalos@greenpeace.org

The ad features images of an out-of-work fishermen roaming the streets of Los Angeles begging with cardboard signs saying Unemployed: They

Overfished the Pollock, as well as images of fishermen at work in the pollock fishery.

"Both fur seals and endangered Steller sea lions have declined dramatically as we have removed so much of the food fish they depend on," said George Pletnikoff, Greenpeace oceans campaigner in Alaska. The health of the environment and our communities are dependent upon  one another. Who will pay the fisherman to fish when all the pollock are gone?"

The ad buy comes just days before the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meets in Anchorage to decide catch limits for the 2009 pollock  season. Despite the decline, the Council is considering a catch limit significantly higher than what is necessary to restore the pollock  population and preserve the ecosystem.

''Fishing industry representatives at the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council exert too much influence over the decision making and this is a big part of the problem,"said Phil Kline, Greenpeace senior oceans campaigner and former commercial fisherman of 29 years. " Self-regulation was a disaster for financial markets, and it's not working for our oceans and fisheries either."

For more information about pollock, and its affect on fishermen and the Alaska ecosystem, read Greenpeace's comprehensive report on pollock at: www.greenpeace.org/usa/rethinking


VVPR info: Jane Kochersperger, (202) 319-2493; George Pletnikoff, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner based in Alaska, (907) 306-4155 cell; Phil Kline, Senior Oceans Campaigner and former commercial fisherman of 29 years, (202) 271-6710 cell

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