Pollock, Walleye/Alaska (Surimi, Kanikama)
Walleye Pollock, the largest single species fishery in the United States, is caught in two regions in Alaska: the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska.
Walleye Pollock mature early in life and have a high growth rate. Walleye Pollock abundance has declined in the past five years in the Bering Sea due to a low number of young fish entering the population (called “recruitment”), but harvest policies are in place to respond appropriately to fluctuations in stock size.
Mid-water trawls are used to catch Walleye Pollock, which do not damage to the benthos (creatures found near the sea floor) when deployed in the mid-water. However, often these trawls contact the seafloor resulting in some damage to benthic organisms. Overall bycatch is low in the Pollock fishery, with discards comprising less than five percent of the targeted landings.
Management measures are aimed at reducing overall bycatch even further. The Marine Stewardship Council has certified both the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska fisheries as sustainable.