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MESA Archives: Eastern Bering Sea Walleye Pollock

(PLEASE NOTE: These web pages are for archival purposes only and are no longer maintained. For current information on this topic at the AFSC visit the Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment program. )

ABL Home
Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment
Ocean Carrying Capacity
Bering Sea (BASIS)
Fish Ecology
Physiological and Behavioral Ecology
Juvenile Walleye Pollock Ecology
Program Activities:
Data Sets
Reports & Activities
A collection of pollock
A collection of pollock.
Scientist measures pollock
Scientist measures pollock.
2004 distribution of age-0 pollock
2004 distribution of age-0 pollock.

The Eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock fishery is one of the largest commercial fisheries worldwide. Since 1991, the annual total catch of adult walleye pollock in the Bering Sea has ranged from 1.0 to 1.5 million tons with an average annual value of about 2 billion dollars. In addition to their high economic value, walleye pollock are also of ecological importance as a food source for seabirds, marine mammals, piscivorous fish, and jellyfish.

Walleye pollock spawn between April and July, and free drifting eggs hatch after about three weeks. Larval walleye pollock grow about 0.2 mm a day and metamorphose into juveniles (age-0) at 25 mm. Age-0 walleye pollock are distributed throughout the eastern Bering Sea, with the highest concentration occurring in frontal regions (areas where well mixed water meets stratified water, and where prey abundance is generally higher) and in Bristol Bay.

The objectives of the Ocean Carrying Capacity Programís walleye pollock research are to describe the distribution of age-0 walleye pollock in the eastern Bering Sea and examine potential relationships between age-0 walleye pollock biomass, zooplankton biomass, and oceanographic parameters, such as sea surface temperature, salinity, and primary production. This research is conducted as part of the Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey (BASIS).


Angela Feldmann
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
(907) 789-6007

Supporting Research

  • Feldmann, A.M. and N. Hillgruber. 2006. Variations in distribution, abundance, diet, and energy density of age-0 walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, in the eastern Bering Sea In: J. Boldt [ed.] Ecosystem Considerations for 2006, NPFMC Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska Stock Assessment and Fisheries Ecology (SAFE).

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