The pollock fishery is a rationalized (not an open access) fishery. The annual quota is divided into sectors based on historical catch percentages. Then, individual vessels and processing companies receive an allocation of this quota reflecting the percentage of the total allowable catch within their sector that they are eligible to catch and/or process. There are three main sectors to the fishery: catcher vessels that deliver to shore processors, catcher vessels that deliver to floating processors (called motherships), and catcher-processors. Each sector operates through its own cooperative. The catcher-processor sector maintains a single cooperative that represents all companies, while the sectors comprised of catcher vessels that deliver to shore based and floating processors maintain cooperatives that operate in conjunction with each processor and delivering vessel. Ultimately, each vessel and processor for all three sectors has a defined amount of pollock to catch and process.

This rationalized management approach went into effect in 1998. The fishery has been very successful since the implementation of rationalization; the food processed per pound of fish has increased by 30%, bycatch of other species is nearly nonexistent, all companies have gained higher efficiencies and profits have increased substantially. This is all due to the elimination of an open access fishery, where there was, in essence, a race for fish. Annual quotas have averaged 1.4 million metric tons per year over the last six years. The Bering Sea Pollock fishery is widely considered to be the best managed fishery in the world and has the distinction of carrying certification from the Marine Stewardship Council as a sustainable fishery.

MARKETS  Pollock is processed surimi, fillets, mince and roe products. Surimi is a fish paste used to make products such as imitation crab. During the mid 1990s the market demand for surimi was almost exclusively tied to Japan; however the last decade has seen a steady increase in market demand in both Europe and the U.S. Pollock roe is a prized delicacy in Japan and Korea. Fillet products include hard-t, boneless deep skinned blocks, pin bone-in and pin bone-out that are brought to market in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

APICDA’s CDQ ¬†Our CDQ fishery is carried out by the F/T Starbound, of which we own 20%, and one or more catcher-processors owned by Trident Seafoods. These vessels produce the highest quality frozen at sea surimi and all varieties of fillets. Our products are sold throughout the world.

MORE INFO –Read more about pollock at Alaska Fisheries Science Center – NOAA