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[ SPECIES ] US fishing industry claims exclusive rights to use “Alaska�.

Alaska pollock or PaciďŹ c pollock? Is the term “Alaskaâ€? an integral part of the species name or a geographical designation of origin that can be protected? The Alaska ďŹ sh industry insists that the name “Alaskaâ€? implies an especially high quality of ďŹ sh providing marketing advantages and therefore its use should be prohibited for ďŹ sh coming from other North PaciďŹ c regions. The association Genuine Alaska pollock Producers (GAPP) launched a campaign to raise awareness that only ďŹ sh caught off the cost of Alaska can be named Alaska pollock. In addition, the scientific name of the species has recently also been modified. Instead of Theragra chalcogramma, Alaska pollock is now called Gadus chalcogrammus. The proposal to change the name is based on the results of genetic investigation targeted at revealing kinship ties among different codfishes (Family Gadidae). Consequently, Alaska pollock is much closer to the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Pacific cod (G. macrocephalus) than it was suggested by earlier studies. That is why the National Marine Fisheries Service changed the scientific name of Alaska pollock to Gadus chalcogrammus. Still, the old name has stuck and continues to be used.

Successful handling of catch at sea and on land Despite mass production, the individual fillets are carefully inspected on light tables for parasites, remaining debris and other impurities.

either demand or quality. Everyone wanted as large a piece as possible from the common pie. Nowadays, fishing activities are market-oriented, qualityconscious and altogether more reasonable from the raw material use and waste management point of view. As the revenue is qualitydependent, the fish are handled much more carefully. While previously the bulk landings of fish could only be used for surimi production, today the processors can decide into which end products the particular batch will be processed into: fillets, blocks or surimi. In terms of landings, the fishing fleet off Alaskan coast is remarkably small. The fishing effort has been adjusted to the potential of the fish stocks. At the beginning of the millennium,

in the Bering Sea and round the Aleutian Islands, only 114 trawlers and 17 fishing and processing vessels, referred to as CPs (catcher/processor), were registered. The fishing season of Alaska pollock is divided in two parts. The A season lasts from January until mid-April while the B season starts in June and lasts till mid-November. Top catches are usually achieved in January/ February, June/July and September/October. The by-catch rate of the Alaska pollock fishing is extremely low and seldom exceeds 3. The American Fisheries Act foresees recording and reporting of all catch including by-catch and unrecognizable juveniles. Since everything is based on the ship’s quota, fishermen do their utmost to ensure clean batches consisting mostly of the target species.

Alaska pollock is mostly fished with pelagic trawls which are either trawled by a single stern trawler or two trawlers in a team. In the Gulf of Alaska, there is also some bottom trawls operated for which a special permit is required. Approximately half of the US total catch is either processed on special factory ships constantly supplied with fish by smaller vessels, or on CP trawlers. The sea-frozen

The total global catch (landed) of Alaska pollock since 1950. Source: FAO, FIGIS. 


products enjoy a particularly high quality as the fish undergo processing immediately after catch. The lack of space on board however, make fishermen look for trade-offs in the processing. A lot of CP vessels can produce surimi and have the necessary equipment on board to fillet, IQF or freeze fish in blocks. In case of very large catches however, fish are often frozen only h&g (headed and gutted). For h&g freezing, fish are mostly sent to China where they are thawed for a short time



Profile for Eurofish

Eurofish Magazine 5 2017  

Featuring Albania's fisheries and aquaculture sector, this issue also looks at EU and Japan's trade agreement while the fisheries section co...

Eurofish Magazine 5 2017  

Featuring Albania's fisheries and aquaculture sector, this issue also looks at EU and Japan's trade agreement while the fisheries section co...

Profile for eurofish