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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 2015 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 2014, pollock made up 64% of the total groundfish catch off Alaska.  The pollock catch for 2014 was 1,442,840 metric tons (t), up approximately 0.05% from 2013.

The 2014 catch of flatfish, which includes yellowfin sole, rock sole and arrowtooth flounder, was 323,640 t or 14.4% of the total 2014 Alaska groundfish catch, down about 0.02% from 2013.

Pacific cod accounted for 334,170 t or 14.8% of the total 2014 Alaska groundfish catch.  The Pacific cod catch was up about 0.05% from a year earlier.

Other important species (% of total 2014 catch and % change from 2013) are:  Atka mackerel 31,990 t (1.4%, up 0.31%),
sablefish 12,270 t (0.5%, down 0.15%), and rockfish 64,910 t (2.9%, up 0.08%).

Recent Walleye Pollock Publications, Poster Presentations, & Research Activities

  • McCARTHY, A. L., S. C. STIENESSEN, and D. JONES. 2016. Results of the acoustic-trawl surveys of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) in the Gulf of Alaska, February-March 2015 (DY2015-02 and DY2015-03). AFSC Processed Rep. 2016-01, 94 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115. (.pdf, 7.5 MB).  Online.
  • GUTHRIE, C. M. III, HV. T. NGUYEN, and J. R. GUYON. 2016. Genetic stock composition analysis of the Chinook salmon bycatch from the 2014 Bering Sea walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) trawl fishery. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA-TM-AFSC-310, 25 p. (.pdf, 880 KB).  Online.
  • HONKALEHTO, T., and A. McCARTHY. 2015. Results of the acoustic-trawl survey of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) on the U.S. and Russian Bering Sea Shelf in June - August 2014 (DY1407). AFSC Processed Rep. 2015-07, 62 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115. (.pdf, 2.37 MB).  Online.
  • McKELVEY, D., and S. STEINESSEN. 2015. Results of the March 2014 acoustic-trawl survey of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) conducted in the southeastern Aleutian Basin near Bogoslof Island, Cruise DY2014-02. AFSC Processed Rep. 2015-06, 43 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115. (.pdf, 1.7 MB)  Online.
  • Spatial Distribution of Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) Life Stages in the Gulf of Alaska 2013
    By:  DREW K. TAPLIN (intern)
    Conference:  Hollings Scholars (NOAA) Symposium, Silver Spring, MD, July 2015
    (2015 poster, .pdf, 1.52 MB)   Online.

  • Spatial Distribution, Food Habits, and Energetics of Age-0 Walleye Pollock and Pacific Cod During Summer in the Eastern and Central Gulf of Alaska
    Conference:  Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2015
    (2015 poster, .pdf, 1.32 MB)   Online.

  • Using Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Data to Estimate Fishing Trip Activity and Duration

  • Use of Shelf, Slope, and Basin Habitat by Age-0 Walleye Pollock and Pacific Cod in the Gulf of Alaska

  • Yes, Virginia, Walleye Pollock is Gadus chalcogrammus

  • Productivity Growth and Product Choice in Fisheries: the Case of the Alaskan Pollock Fishery Revisited

  • Additional publications, posters, and reports.
(Source: North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports.)

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