JUNEAU, Alaska (ASMI) — The harvest season for Alaska pollock, the nation’s largest fishery, opened Sunday, January 20. The 2013 Alaska pollock Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska is 1,387,146 metric tons, 3.8% higher than last year’s TAC of 1,335,944 metric tons. Alaska pollock accounts for approximately 30% of all U.S. seafood landings by weight.
The delicate, mild whitefish is a popular ingredient in a variety of seafood dishes and consumer products such as breaded fish sticks, fish sandwiches, and Alaska Surimi Seafood products. Delicious whether poached, baked, broiled, steamed, sautéed or deep-fried, Alaska pollock is high in protein and long-chain omega-3s and low in fat. Visit www.wildalaskaflavor.com for recipes and nutrition information.
The Alaska pollock fishery is a model of sustainability for the world. Harvested using mid-water trawls designed to minimize the effects on the marine environment, the Alaska pollock fishery is one of the ‘cleanest’ in the world, averaging 1% of non-targeted species (bycatch) annually. The comprehensive federal pollock observer program assigns federally trained scientists to all harvesting vessels and processing locations in order to monitor and record all catches of Alaska pollock and any incidentally caught species. In addition, all vessels are equipped with Vessel Monitoring Systems that track vessel locations at all times.
The annual Alaska pollock TAC is set by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which uses the best research available to determine sustainable catch levels. Using decades of survey information and population estimates, scientists make a conservative recommendation each year on the amount of Alaska pollock that can be sustainably harvested, also known as the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC). Based on the scientists’ recommendation, the Council sets the annual TAC, or quota, for the fishery, and for the past 30 years, the TAC has been set at or below the ABC to ensure the continued success of the Alaska pollock fishery. This reliance on science is a hallmark of Alaska’s sustainable fisheries management system.
About Alaska Seafood
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership of the State of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry. ASMI works to promote the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offer seafood industry education.
For more than 50 years, Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood. It’s so essential to our way of life that our Constitution mandates that “fish … be utilized, developed and maintained on the sustained yield principle.” The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private sector employer, and as a result, Alaskans understand the need to protect the fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations. We’re proud of our leadership in sustainable management, which has led to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets around the world.