Most of Alaska’s whitefish species are harvested from the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, they have white meat and live next to sea bottom. They spend all their lives in the ocean, never swimming into the fresh waters. Living in deep, clean and cold waters of the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, Alaska whitefish is an integral part of the ecosystem.
They feed on plankton, shrimp, shellfish, other fish and other marine organisms. They are also a source of food for larger fish species, birds and marine mammals. Alaska pollock live at a depth of 70-300 meters.
Alaska pollock is the largest commercial fishery in the Bering Sea by volume. Its share of total biomass is 60%.
Alaska pollock is harvested with trawl vessels. Trawl fishing uses a large, funnel-shaped net towed behind a large fishing vessel. Trawl vessels are the largest of the Alaska whitefish fishing fleet. Trawlers use sophisticated devices to detect and identify fish underwater allowing vessels to avoid catching non-targeted species as well as know where to tow the gear in relation to the fish and the ocean floor. After Alaska pollock is harvested, the fish is processed in different processing facilities in sea or onshore.
Alaska pollock has lean, mild and tender meat. The most versatile of the Alaska whitefish varieties. Besides fillets for fast food chains, Alaska pollock can be processed into mince, mince blocks, fillets blocks, deep-skinned fillet blocks, surimi, and H&G.
Such Alaska pollock products as H&G fish, surimi and roe are imported to the Ukrainian market. Frozen Alaska pollock products are available for consumers all year round.
All fishing gear is operated in as “clean” a manner as possible. Alaska processors are careful to extract the maximum value from the harvest and minimize waste. New innovations in product types to maximize use of the catch are constantly being investigated.
The guiding principle of the management of Alaska’s whitefish fisheries is solidly based in science and managers must take a precautionary conservative approach rather than risk damage to the resource. In Alaska, the future of seafood stocks and the environment are more important than immediate opportunities for commercial harvest.
The material is provided by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.