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 recent 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 population size.
Mid-water trawls are used to catch Walleye Pollock. When deployed in mid-water, they do not damage the seafloor or creatures living on the seafloor. However, often these trawls contact the seafloor resulting in some damage to bottom habitats. The fishery catches low amounts of bycatch or non-target species.
There is conflicting evidence about the role of the Walleye Pollock fishery in the decline of the endangered Steller sea lion and Northern fur seal, both of which rely heavily on Walleye Pollock for food.