Illustration of Pollock

Pollock

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Handline, Pole

Location

Gulf of Maine

Overall Rating

2.8 / 5

Summary

Pollock caught in the US Gulf of Maine contribute to total US landings that have fluctuated between 3,000 t and 10,000 t since 2003.  Handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines contribute a minor component of total catches. Impacts on the pollock stock are low, as the stock status is healthy and fishing mortality is low. Few other species are caught; however, the fishery also targets cod, which is undergoing overfishing.  Management is considered moderately effective, with a new management plan expected to address high catch levels of cod. Impact on the habitat and ecosystem are low, with ecosystem-based management being developed.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Handline, Pole

Location

US Georges Bank

Overall Rating

2.8 / 5

Summary

Pollock caught in the US Georges Bank contribute to total US landings that have fluctuated between 3,000 t and 10,000 t since 2003.  Handlines and hand-operated pole-and-lines contribute a minor component of total catches. Impacts on the pollock stock are low, as the stock status is healthy and fishing mortality is low. Few other species are caught; however, the fishery also targets cod, which is undergoing overfishing.  Management is considered moderately effective, with a new management plan expected to address high catch levels of cod. Impact on the habitat and ecosystem are low, with ecosystem-based management being developed.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - US Acadian redfish, haddock and pollock Otter Trawl

Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

US FAO Fishing Area 21 in Division 21.4X and Division 21.5t

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
US Acadian redfish, haddock and pollock Otter Trawl

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

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Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Alaska Pollock- Gulf of Alaska

Variety

Alaskan pollock

Theragra chalcogramma

Method

Wild

Trawl

Location

Gulf of Alaska

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Alaska Pollock- Gulf of Alaska

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - US Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank Haddock,Pollock and Redfish Trawl

Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Bottom trawl

Location

Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
US Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank Haddock,Pollock and Redfish Trawl

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Ocean Wise Recommended

Ocean Wise

Eco-Certification:

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - Alaska Pollock - Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

Variety

Alaskan pollock

Theragra chalcogramma

Method

Wild

Midwater trawl

Location

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Alaska Pollock - Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods

Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Danish seine, Gillnet, Trawl

Location

Iceland

Overall Rating

N/A / 5

Summary

Atlantic Pollock is an important fishery in the US, Canada, Iceland and Norway. Atlantic Pollock is found on both coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. In the Northwest Atlantic, it is most abundant on the Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine. Pollock are a long-lived species, but spawn many times in a single year, which may allow quick stock recovery. The Atlantic Pollock were declared overfished in the mid-1990s, but recovered in 2003. Currently, the Atlantic Pollock population is deemed to be recovering in the US and Canada and to be healthy in Norwegian waters.

The U.S. portion of the fishery is managed under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP), where time/area closures, gear restrictions, minimum size limits, and direct effort controls are currently in place. Current goals of the management plan include reducing fishing mortality to allow stock recovery.

Bottom trawls, and gillnets catch a variety of species, as they are not species-specific. Of particular concern for this fishery, is the capture of marine mammals in gillnets. Bottom trawling is known to have significant impacts on the benthic community, though the severity may range depending on the type of substrate.

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Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Bottom gillnet, Bottom trawl

Location

US - Georges Bank, Gulf of Maine

Overall Rating

2.5 - 2.6 / 5

Summary

Pollock have been targeted for 400 years and have a history of being overexploited due to advances in industrial fishing. After the fishery collapsed, management measures controlling bycatch and limiting quotas were introduced. Landings since 2003 have increased compared to the historic lows in the 1990’s.

Pollock are managed by the NEFMC as part of the groundfish fishery. Fishery data as well as fishery independent data in the form of stock assessments are regularly collected. Scientific advice is generally followed when establishing regulations and quotas, although this is not always the case. Population status is currently healthy in both the Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine, and overfishing is not occurring.

Bottom trawls and bottom gillnets are a nonspecific gear type, which catches a variety of bycatch. Of most concern is the overfished yellowtail flounder and harbour porpoise which is a species of concern. Bottom trawls have the potential to cause a moderate amount of habitat damage. Permanent area closures protect the most sensitive habitats from bottom trawls, although this level of protection is minimal. New management measures are aiming to better protect the habitat through ecosystem-based management, and these are targeted to take place in 5 years.

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Variety

Atlantic pollock

Pollachius virens

Method

Wild

Danish seine, Gillnet, Trawl

Location

Canada

Overall Rating

2.1 - 2.2 / 5

Summary

Pollock have a history of being severely overfished, especially with the introduction of improved fishing methods. In the early 1990’s the stock was severely depleted, and stocks have not recovered. This report covers management area 4VWX+5 which is primarily the western stock. The total allowable catch for this management area in the 2010-2011 fishing year was 5,900 mt although landings were only 4,926 mt.

Pollock are managed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) under an Integrated Fisheries Management Plan (IFMP). Stocks are regulated according to the precautionary approach, and dramatic measures have been implemented to rebuild the stocks since the declines in the 1990’s However there are some concerns that fishing pressure is still too high, as the population status remains depleted. Exact stock status and fishing mortality is unknown as there are uncertainties associated with the last stock assessment of 2009. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife (COSEWIC) has not determined a status for Canadian Pollock.

Otter trawls, bottom longlines, and bottom gillnets are non-selective methods of fishing which cause large amounts of bycatch. Bycatch includes a variety of species of concern such as harbour porpoises, North Atlantic right whales, leatherback turtles, skates, and wolfish amongst others. Otter trawls have the potential to cause significant damage to the habitat. Since cod and Pollock are found in areas with substrates of gravel, rock, or sand, gear damage is limited. Bottom gillnets and bottom longlines cause low levels of damage, but can still snag on corals causing breakage. It is possible that the effects of bottom gear in the cod and Pollock fisheries are underestimated.

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Variety

Russian pollock

Gadus chalcogrammus

Method

Wild

Danish seine, Trawl

Location

Russia

Overall Rating

2-2.7 / 5

Summary

This recommendation covers walleye pollock (refered to as pollock herein) landed by non-MSC certified Russian mid-water trawl and Danish seine fisheries in the Northwest Pacific, including non-MSC certified Russian mid-water trawl and Danish seine fisheires in the Northwest Pacific, the West Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and Sea of Japan. The population structure for this species is complex and scientific understanding is evolving. There are seven distinct stocks with targeted fisheries:  1) West Bering, 2) Navarinsk, 3) East Kamchatka, 4) Northest Sea of Okhotsk-West Kamchatka, 5) West Sea of Okhotsk-East Sakhalin, 6) Sea of Japan, and 7) Japanese Pacific. Pollock is a groundfish and a member of the cod family. It occurs in aggregations thoughout the year and is mostly targetd by mid-water trawls. It is one of the largest single-species fisheries in the world, with a total global harvest of 3.2 million tons in 2014. Most of this harvest (92%) is by Russian and Alaskan fleets, with Russian catch slightly exceeding American harvest. Russian pollock accounts for 40% of pollock sold in the US. Most of the regulations and scientific committes for the management of this fishery is housed within the Russian Ministry of Agriculture which determines the annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for each fishery. Concerns exist around mangement enforcement, particularily due to illegal discards of juveniles and catch exceeding TAC limits. There are also concerns around lack of data on bycatch impacts. Finally, the strategies for addressing the interactions between the fishery and red-listed Stellar sea lions are considered inadequate.

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Variety

Russian pollock

Theragra chalcogramma

Method

Wild

Midwater trawl

Location

Russia, Sea of Okhotsk

Eco-Certification

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Russia Sea of Okhotsk pollock

Summary

Ocean Wise recommends some Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, but not all. Learn more about how the MSC certification was bench-marked to Ocean Wise.

Learn more about harvest methods