Corporate & Foundation Relations

Funding Research for the Future

Pollock Conservation Cooperative Gives $9 million for Fisheries and Conservation Research

A fishing boat out in the ocean seen through a circular frame.
Credit: UAF Photograph.

The global community is benefiting from millions of dollars of scientific research into Alaska’s marine ecosystems, made possible by a partnership between the Pollock Conservation Cooperative (PCC) and UAF’s School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. With gifts totaling more than $9 million over the past nine years, the PCC is one of the school’s largest private contributors.

Funding from the cooperative supports the Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC).   Administered by the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, the PCCRC provides funding to UA scientists for research of North Pacific fisheries, marine mammals and coastal ecosystems, as well as for training and education on issues important to Alaska’s fisheries.   “We believe management of fishery resources should be based on sound scientific research. UAF has a remarkably effective program for both education and research on issues of critical importance for responsible fishery management,” said Jan Jacobs, director of government affairs for American Seafoods Company, which is a member of the PCC. “In a world where the marine environment seems to be changing faster all the time, accurately assessing such changes and understanding how to respond quickly is essential, not only for maintaining a healthy environment but for a healthy industry. In this way, we can increase the likelihood that fishery resources and the fishing community will remain sustainable for future generations.”

Two workers can be seen in the fish holding area of a large fishing boat.
Credit: UAF Photograph.

Most recently, the PCC awarded more than $500,000, which is being used to fund eight PCCRC projects on topics such as Alaska’s fish species, the tagging of Stellar sea lions, the Bering Sea’s marine food chain, and educational support for fisheries students. Among the researchers benefiting from the funding is Anthony Gharrett.   “The PCCRC has played a very important part in my research,” Gharrett said. “They have made it possible for us to develop markers that can be used to track chum salmon population movements effectively and inexpensively.   Their support leveraged a much larger program than we could have conducted on our own. By supporting this and other studies, PCCRC continues to be an important advocate for conservation and sustainability of Alaska’s marine resources. Moreover, they are underwriting the training of tomorrow’s managers.”

The Pollock Conservation Cooperative (PCC) is a private-sector initiative, led by the Bering Sea pollock catcher/processor fleet, to further improve conservation and utilization of marine resources.   PCC member companies allocate among themselves the overall quota of pollock available to the catcher/processor sector, providing the opportunity to maximize food production, while minimizing the harvest of non-target species. Since its inception in 1999, the PCC has helped reduce over-capacity in the catcher/processor fleet and enabled participants to produce 50 percent more fish products on a per-pound basis.   The PCC is currently composed of seven members of the At-sea Processors Association, including Alaska Ocean Seafood, American Seafoods Company, Arctic Storm, Glacier Fish Company, Highland Light Seafoods, Starbound and Trident Seafoods.