The largest concentration of Pollock are found in the Bering Sea where it's population is considered above the estimated target level. The harvesting limit level is under strict control. Alaskan Pollock makes up over 40% of the global white fish production.
Pollock grow to a length of about 3.3 feet, mature at age 3 or 4, and tend to form large schools, living in the mid-water area and feeding on zooplankton and small fish. Older ones tend to stay near the sea floor, living up to 17 years, feeding on other fish.
Pollock grow fast from the female's 2 million eggs she produces during February - April.
Humans are not the only consumers of Pollock. Creatures of the sea also prey for them as food, such as Steller Sea Lions and other marine mammal species as well as foraging fish and seabirds.
Midwater Trawl Nets, which have less impact on the ocean environment than other trawl gear, are used to harvest Alaskan Pollock. The catch in image - right, was made by a trawler and pasted off tho this fish factory. Pollock are NOT OVER FISHED.
Bycatch of other species is generally between 1 and 2% of the total Alaska pollock catch. Pacific salmon bycatch is a particular concern because of the importance of salmon for commercial and subsistence fisheries (note that Pacific salmon bycatch is recorded and where feasible, donated to local Alaska food banks). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recently developed a new program to manage bycatch that includes a lower limit on the incidental catch of Chinook salmon allowed in the pollock fishery. This program was developed from alternatives analyzed in an environmental impact statement and includes performance measures to ensure that individual vessel operators act to minimize bycatch. The Council plans to take similar action to reduce bycatch of other salmon species.
Bycatch is fish, other than the primary target species, that are caught incidentally to the harvest of the primary species. Bycatch may be retained or discarded, depending on regulations. Fishermen try to reduce bycatch because it takes time and energy away from catching the target species. Managers try to reduce bycatch and its impacts in a number of ways, such as developing new gear that is more effective in catching the target species, closing areas to fishing where or when the probability of bycatch is high, or even closing fisheries altogether, all to protect the non-target species.