Seafood Species Definitions
(Pollachius virens): WILD CAUGHT
A member of the Cod family, Atlantic Pollock is a different species than the Pacific Pollock harvested in the North Pacific, although both are labeled as “Pollock” in the marketplace. In New England, Pollock is also known as “Saithe”, “Coalfish”, “Boston Bluefish”, “Coley”, or “Green Cod”. The fisheries for these species are very different as well – Alaska Pollock (sometimes called Walleye Pollock or Tomcod) is harvested in one of the largest, most valuable industrial fisheries in the world, with landings averaging over 1 million tons. Atlantic Pollock, on the other hand, is harvested along with a number of other groundfish species in the Northwest Atlantic, with annual landings of just over 11 million pounds.
More Atlantic Pollock comes through the Portland Fish Exchange, in Portland, Maine, than any of the “big three” New England fish auctions (New Bedford, Gloucester, and Portland). This fish is purchased off the auction and shipped out same day. With recent quota reductions on Gulf of Maine Cod, and lower than normal landings on Gulf of Maine Haddock over the past few years, Atlantic Pollock serves as an excellent alternative to either. Atlantic Pollock is gaining popularity on menus across the United States as many chefs are realizing the value in such a high-quality and under-utilized groundfish species.
Atlantic Pollock are brownish-green on the back and slightly pale on the belly. They have a small chin barbel, like the whiskers on a catfish, and can be distinguished from a Cod or a Haddock by their greenish hue and darker flesh. Pollock has a more pronounced flavor than cod or haddock, but cooks white with large flakes just like them; prepare as you would haddock (baked, boiled, fried or sautéed) – but because of a higher fat content it should be cooked slightly longer. Pollock is typically landed in the 6 -12 pound range.
Catch Region: Gulf of Maine
Catch Method: Gillnet/Trawl
Yield (Fillet Percentage): 50-55%
Flavor Profile: Mild and Delicate
Texture Profile: Moderately Firm, Flaky