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Walleye Pollock Research

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 2015, pollock made up 67% of the total groundfish catch off Alaska.  The pollock catch for 2015 was 1,490,780 metric tons (t), up approximately 3% from 2014.

The 2015 catch of flatfish, which includes yellowfin sole, rock sole and arrowtooth flounder, was 245,860 t or 11% of the total 2015 Alaska groundfish catch, down about 24% from 2014.

Pacific cod accounted for 321,100 t or 14.4% of the total 2015 Alaska groundfish catch. The Pacific cod catch was down about 4% from 2014.

Other important species (% of total 2015 catch and % change from 2014) are:  Atka mackerel 54,500 t (2.4%, up 70%), sablefish 11,690 t (.05%, down 5%), and rockfish 668,660 t (3%, up 6%).

Recent Walleye Pollock Publications, Poster Presentations, & Research Activities

  • HONKALEHTO, T., P. H. RESSLER, R. H. TOWLER, N. E. LAUFFENBURGER, S. C. STIENESSEN, E. T. COLLINS, A. L. MCCARTHY, and R. R. LAUTH. 2017. Acoustic Vessel-of-Opportunity (AVO) index for midwater Bering Sea walleye pollock, 2014-2015. AFSC Processed Rep. 2017-04, 32 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115.   Online.
  • KONDZELA, C. M., J. A. WHITTLE, S. C. VULSTEK, HV. T. NGUYEN, and J. R. GUYON. 2017. Genetic stock composition analysis of chum salmon from the prohibited species catch of the 2015 Bering Sea walleye pollock trawl fishery and Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-345, 64 p.   Online.
  • STIENESSEN, S., A. MCCARTHY, D. T. JONES, and T. HONKALEHTO. 2017. Results of the acoustic-trawl surveys of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) in the Gulf of Alaska, February-March 2016 (DY2016-02 and DY2016-04). AFSC Processed Rep. 2017-02, 91 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115  Online.
  • GUTHRIE, C. M. III, HV. T. NGUYEN, A. E. THOMSON, and J. R. GUYON. 2017. Genetic stock composition analysis of the Chinook salmon bycatch from the 2015 Bering Sea walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) trawl fishery. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-342, 33 p  Online.
  • The Use of Image-analysis Software in Evaluating Spawning Strategy and Fecundity Rates of Walleye Pollock, Gadus chalcogrammus
    Conference:  Western Groundfish Conference (19th), Newport, OR, Feb 2016
    (2016 poster, .pdf, 1.56 MB)   Online.

  • Using Cell-Cycle Analysis to Measure Growth of Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) Larva STEVEN M. PORTER
    Conference:  Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2016
    (2016 poster, .pdf, 1.19 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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