Origin – China
- Presentation – Frozen / Salted Fillets, Salted Strips
The Alaska Pollock has been said to be “the largest remaining source of palatable fish in the world. More than 3 million tons of Alaska Pollock are caught each year in the North Pacific from Alaska to northern Japan. Alaska Pollock catches from U.S. fisheries have been quite consistent at about 1.5 million tons a year, almost all of it from the Bering Sea. Information on the current stock status for Alaska ground fish is updated annually whereas the specific 2007 Pollock assessment is also available. The Alaska Pollock landings are the largest of any single fish species in the U.S. However, in each of the last three years, the pollock population has declined; in 2008, it fell 38 percent and scientists now believe that the 2008 Pollock catch will be the lowest in 30 years. Although the fishery has been hailed as an example of good management, and the prestigious Marine Stewardship Council declared it “sustainable”, Greenpeace has criticized its management for many years and placed Pollock on its international “red list” of endangered fish. In response to the new data, Greenpeace has called for 2009 catch levels to be reduced to half those of 2008 in order to avoid further long-term declines.
This decline has led some scientists to worry that Alaska Pollock could be about to repeat the kind of collapse experienced by Atlantic Cod (Pollock is in the family of cod), which could have negative consequences for the world food supply and the entire Bering Sea ecosystem. Halibut, salmon, endangered Steller sea lions, fur seals, and humpback whales all eat Pollock and rely on healthy populations to sustain themselves.
It has been found that catches of Alaska Pollock go up three years after stormy summers. The storms stir up nutrients, and this results in phytoplankton being plentiful for longer, which in turn allows more Pollock hatchlings to survive.
Use as food
High quality, single frozen whole Alaska Pollock fillets may be layered into a block mold and deep frozen to produce fish blocks that are used throughout Europe and North America as the raw material for high quality breaded and battered fish products. Lower quality, double-frozen fillets or minced trim pieces may also be frozen in block forms and used as raw material for lower quality, low-cost breaded and battered fish sticks, portions, etc.
Single frozen Alaska Pollock is considered to be the premier raw material for surimi; the most common use of surimi in the United States is “imitation crab meat” (also known as crab stick). It is the main ingredient in the surimi-based sandwich product called “Seafood Sensation®” sold by the Subway fast-food chain.
Alaska Pollock is commonly used in the fast food industry, for example the Filet-O-Fish sandwich at MacDonald’s . It is also used by Dairy Queen, Arby’s and Burger King.