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Walleye Pollock Research

Walleye Pollock
Walleye Pollock
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photo of walleye pollock  
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Walleye pollock, Gadus chalcogrammus, (formerly Theragra chalcogramma) is a key species in the Alaska groundfish complex and a target species for one of the world's largest fisheries. Walleye pollock produces the largest catch by volume of any single species inhabiting the 200-mile U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.

Pollock is a semipelagic schooling fish widely distributed in the North Pacific Ocean with largest concentrations found in the eastern Bering Sea. Pollock is considered a relatively fast growing and short-lived species and currently represents a major biological component of the Bering Sea ecosystem. In the U.S. portion of the Bering Sea including the Aleutian Islands region, three stocks of pollock are identified for management purposes. Pollock in the Bering Sea is the largest of the three, and surveys conducted in 2014 (acoustic with midwater trawls and bottom trawls) when combined with the observer data suggested higher estimates of the 2008 year-class than previously estimated. Further details can be found in the 2014 stock assessment.

Pollock in the Gulf of Alaska is managed as a single stock independently of pollock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. The separation of pollock in Alaskan waters into eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska stocks is supported by analysis of larval drift patterns from spawning locations, genetic studies of allozyme frequencies, mtDNA variability, and microsatellite allele variability. In 2015 some exciting new survey methods for evaluating pollock behavior and abundance patterns began. This was highlighted in an article "For pollock surveys, things are looking up".

During 2013, pollock made up 63.3% of the total groundfish catch off Alaska.  The pollock catch for 2013 was 1,370,130 metric tons (t), up approximately 4.6% from 2012.

The 2013 catch of flatfish, which includes yellowfin sole, rock sole and arrowtooth flounder, was 331,150 t or 15.3% of the total 2013 Alaska groundfish catch, up about 3.2% from 2012.

Pacific cod accounted for 318,870 t or 14.7% of the total 2013 Alaska groundfish catch.  The Pacific cod catch was down about 3.1% from a year earlier.

Other important species (% of total 2013 catch and % change from 2012) are:  Atka mackerel 24,460 t (1.1%, down 50.1%),
sablefish 14,500 t (0.7%, down .8%), and rockfish 59,870 t (2.8%, up 7.9%).

Recent Walleye Pollock Publications, Poster Presentations, & Research Activities
(Source: North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports.)

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