pollackSunday, January 20, 2013 saw the country’s largest fishery open and ready for the Alaska Pollock harvest season, which is about 30% of all the nation’s seafood landings (weight being the factor).

Mid-water fishing boats are used in the harvesting, which is intended to reduce the impact on the nation’s marine environment. The Pollock fishery has, on average, a non-targeted species catch of 1% annually. The federal observer program for Pollock allots trained scientists who record and monitor catches of the Alaska Pollock, as well as any species caught incidentally in all processing locations and harvesting vessels. Additionally, the vessels are fitted with Vessel Monitoring Systems designed to trace the locations of the vessels all the time.

The yearly Alaska Pollock Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is organized through the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, who sets the sustainable catch points. The TAC for Alaska Pollock in 2013 for the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands stands at 1,387,146 metric tons, which is 3.8% higher than 2012’s 1,335,944.

Scientists use survey information as well as population estimates collected over decades to make recommendations on the levels of the species that can be harvested annually to maintain a sustainable population. These levels or amounts are called Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council sets yearly TAC quotas for Alaska Pollock. The levels have been laid down at the ABC or below, so that the fishery remains successful. The Alaska management system of fisheries relies on science and keeps the fishery sustainable.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership of the seafood industry and the State. It works to support the sustainable and wild Alaska seafood trade and provide industry education.