Assessments of resource abundance for Pacific fisheries indicate that the harvest of Pacific sole could be doubled. More intensive use of the fishery, however, would have to be accompanied by an expansion of markets for sole, eastward. Current production id distributed, in fresh form, chiefly in the West Coast States. Declining catches of East Coast species of fish, for which Pacific soles would be a suitable substitute, are creating a favorable climate for Pacific sole market expansion, especially for sole marketed in "fresh" form. Shelf life limitations contribute a formidable obstacle to market expansion, but improved preservation techniques can overcome this factor. Low dosage irradiation preservation can add two weeks to the shelf life of pacific sole, without alterring the "fresh" quality of the fish, Weighed against the apparent costs of irradiation processing, however, the benefits possible from expanded markets do not appear sufficient to justify commercial investment in irradiation facilities for processing Pacific sole. This conclusion is reached on the assumption that current production of Pacific sole in doubled and the gain in production is irradiation-processed and shipped to distant markets at f.o.b. plant price levels currently in effect.


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