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Alaska Pollock

Updated on November 1, 2014

The largest U.S. fishery, by volume - Alaska pollock

The Alaska pollock fishery is one the largest and most valuable fisheries in the world.

Each year, managers adjust the amount fishermen can catch according to pollock population levels and other factors.

The Alaska pollock fishery is the largest U.S. fishery by volume. In 2013, landings of Alaska pollock exceeded 3 billion pounds.

The 5 year landings average from 2008 - 2012 was roughly 2.35 billion pounds.

alaska pollock
alaska pollock

The U.S. Fishery for Alaska Pollock

The Alaska pollock fishery is the largest U.S. fishery, by volume. Annual catches average 2.5 billion pounds.

Because of its quality, abundance and versatility, Alaska pollock is used in more seafood products than any other fish species. The product is accepted by consumers in North America, Europe and Asia.

Alaska pollock is harvested with mid-water trawl nets. The majority of fish are caught by large fishing-processing ships harvest, process, freeze and store their catch onboard.

Alaska pollock is also harvested by catcher-only trawl vessels that deliver their catch to onshore processors. The pollock fishery has a very low bycatch rate, averaging one and a half percent by weight.

According to NOAA Fisheries, 2. 8 billion pounds of Alaska pollock were landed in the USA in 2011.

photo credit: NOAA FishWatch

Cooking and Enjoying Alaska Pollock

Alaska pollock is high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. The fish has mild white flesh that lends itself to a wide range of applications.

Pollock is usually sold frozen and processed into items such as fish portions, fish sticks and other forms. Pollock is also available fresh, smoked, salted and dried.

Alaska Pollock Scientific Name Change

Theragra chalcogramma should now be identified as Gadus chalcogrammus.

According to the American Fisheries Society, the scientific name for Alaska pollock has changed.

The species formerly known as Theragra chalcogramma should now be identified as Gadus chalcogrammus.

Alaska pollock are now placed in the same genus as the Atlantic, Pacific, and Greenland cods.

source: NOAA FishWatch

U.S. Alaska Pollock Research and Regulations

Researchers use bottom trawls to survey groundfish (including pollock) and crab plus an acoustic-trawl survey for pelagic walleye pollock. The annual bottom trawl survey of the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf began in 1971.

In 2009, the fishing vessels Aldebaran and Arcturus, chartered from May 28 to August 2, sampled 376 trawl stations over an area of 144,600 square nautical miles. Researchers processed and recorded the data from each trawl catch by identifying, sorting, and weighing all the different crab and groundfish species. Biological samples for diet, age, growth, and maturity are then taken for the different species.

source: NMFS Alaska Region news release

Researchers ran the acoustic-trawl survey of walleye pollock in the Bering Sea between June 9 and August 7 from the NOAA ship Oscar Dyson. The 2009 acoustic trawl survey is the latest in a series that began in 1979. The survey covered the area from Bristol Bay to the western Bering Sea shelf region extending into the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone.

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