Alaska Pollock

Page - May 27, 2009

Greenpeace Canada Redlist

Fishery Facts

Latin Name Theragra chalcogramma

Other Common Name Walleye Pollock

Fishing Method Trawling, both mid-water and bottom, Danish seines and long lines.

Region of Harvest Pollock are found throughout the northern Pacific, with the largest populations in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. Pollock thrive in mid-bottom waters up to 3,281 ft.

Other: Pollock are considered one of the most important fish resources in the world. Pollock is commonly consumed as fish sticks or breaded fish fillets.

 Goberge de l'Alaska
Why is it on the red list?   Biology

1. Pollock is a key prey species for a range of marine mammals, fish and seabirds, including endangered Steller sea lions and northern fur seals. Two pollock stocks remain depleted and catches throughout the region are far too high to ensure that the needs of this marine ecosystem are met. This may also prevent the recovery of Steller sea lion populations.

2. Midwater trawling is the primary method for catching pollock but it often comes in contact with the seafloor, causing significant damage. Trawling damage to the seafloor impacts groundfish and other species that depend on seafloor structures like coral and sponges for feeding, breeding and hiding from predators. Trawling for pollock occurs in several known coral and sponge habitats.

3. Although the relative level of bycatch of Alaska pollock fisheries is low (around 1%) the sheer scale of the fishery (around 2.5 million tonnes) means the bycatch is large. Bycatch includes significant numbers of Pacific salmon, including threatened and endangered populations. In the East Bering Sea fishery there was a peak bycatch of 130,246 Chinook salmon in 2007 and nearly 712,000 non-Chinook salmon in 2005.

1. Pollock live up to 15 years, and do not reach maturity until 3 or 4 years of age

2. Pollock feed mostly on krill, but have been known to eat small fishes and crustaceans

3. Spawning adults are often captured solely for their roe, or eggs, that are inside their bodies


  • Alaska Pollock is the most commonly used ingredient for ‘imitation crab sticks,’ which are found in some sushi rolls