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Our Fisheries

It all starts with great fisheries

Each year, our vessels return to the cold, clean waters of Alaska and participate in fisheries widely regarded as being among the best managed in the world. These fisheries have been so managed for decades and were among the first large scale fisheries to receive Marine Stewardship Council certification as “sustainable” and receive the Global Trust certification as “responsibly managed.” To learn more about the sustainability and the environmental footprint of our products, go to www.americanseafoodscompany.com/sustainability

Alaska pollock

Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma)
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A member of the cod family, Alaska pollock is one of the most abundant and versatile fish in the world. It can grow as large as 3 feet, but will typically average from 12 to 20 inches in length and from 1 to 3.5 pounds in weight. Alaska pollock has a mild taste with a somewhat higher oil content than other whitefish species. It is one of the most efficient sources of protein, as it’s low in calories, carbohydrates and fat.

Habitat

Alaska pollock are found in the North Pacific Ocean. In U.S. waters, the largest population, and hence the largest fishery, is in the Eastern Bering Sea

Harvesting Method

Alaska pollock are harvested with mid-water, also called pelagic, trawl gear by catcher-processors such as those owned and operated by American Seafoods Company. They’re also harvested by trawlers that deliver to shore-based processors and mothership processors.

Fishery Management

In the United States, Alaska pollock are sustainably managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Biological catch limits are determined by impartial scientists who work for NMFS, State fisheries agencies and universities. Quotas are set at or below the scientific limits by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a body made up of knowledgeable private citizens and State and Federal government officials. More information on the management of the Alaska pollock fishery is available on www.fishwatch.gov.

The Alaska pollock fishery is widely considered to be one of the best-managed fisheries in the world. It was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2005 and re-certified in 2010. In the re-certification, the Bering Sea pollock fishery received the highest score of any groundfish fishery certified to date. Information on the MSC and its certification of the Alaska pollock fishery is available on www.msc.org.

The Bering Sea Alaska pollock fishery has also been certified as responsibly managed by Global Trust under a program established by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. More information on this program is available at sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/pollock-certification.

Pacific hake (whiting)

Pacific hake (Merluccius productus)
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Pacific hake, also known regionally as Pacific whiting, is an important commercial fish species in the Pacific Northwest off the coast of Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia. These fast-growing fish can reach a length of 3 feet (though few do), averaging from 1 to 2 pounds and producing fillets that range from 2 to 4 ounces in weight. Pacific hake have a taste similar to the other hake species found throughout the world, with a delicate texture and mild, slightly sweet taste.

Habitat

Pacific hake range from the Southern Baja California off the coast of Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska, although the fishery is limited to the Washington, Oregon California area and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

Harvesting Method

In U.S. waters, Pacific hake are harvested with mid-water, also called “pelagic” trawl gear. Quotas are allocated among catcher-processors, such as those owned and operated by American Seafoods, and vessels delivering to shore-based processors and mothership processors.

Fishery Management

Pacific hake are what is known as a “trans-boundary” stock in that they migrate between U.S. and Canadian waters. The Pacific hake stock is sustainably managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Biological catch limits are determined by impartial scientists who work for NMFS, State fisheries agencies and universities. Quotas are set at or below the scientific limits by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, a body made up of knowledgeable private citizens and State and Federal government officials. The total quota is allocated between the United States and Canada under a treaty that was signed by the two countries in 2007. Under this agreement, the United States is allocated approximately 74 percent of the quota and Canada receives 26 percent. Within the United States, the U.S. share is further allocated between the catcher-processor, shore-based and mothership sectors. Certain tribes in the Pacific Northwest are also allocated a share of the quota subject to their ability to harvest it. More information on the management of the Pacific hake fishery is available on www.fishwatch.gov.

The Pacific hake fishery was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2009. More information on that certification and the sustainability of the fishery is available on www.msc.org.

Yellowfin sole

Yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera)
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This flatfish species is the smallest of the commercial sole species in the North Pacific. Yellowfin sole is a slower-growing and longer-living fish than Alaska Pollock, reaching a length of around one and a half feet. Fillet sizes average from 2 to 4 ounces in weight. It is slightly higher in calories and cholesterol that Alaska Pollock, but with a lower fat content. Fillets are thin, with a mild, sweet flavor and a delicate flake and texture.

Habitat

Yellowfin sole are found in the North Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Russia. In U.S. waters, the largest population, and hence the largest fishery, is in the Eastern Bering Sea.

Harvesting Method

Because yellowfin sole live on the ocean floor they’re harvested by vessels using bottom trawl gear.

Fishery Management

In the United States, yellowfin sole are sustainably managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Biological catch limits are determined by impartial scientists who work for NMFS, State fisheries agencies and Universities. Quotas are set at or below the scientific limits by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a body made up of knowledgeable private citizens and State and Federal government officials. More information on the management of the yellowfin sole fishery is available on www.fishwatch.gov.

Along with other flatfish fisheries, the Alaskan yellowfin sole fishery was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2009. Information on the MSC and its certification of the yellowfin sole fishery is available on www.msc.org.

Pacific cod

Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)
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An important commercial fish species in Alaska, Pacific cod has been harvested in waters off Alaska since the mid-19th century. The largest of the Alaskan ground fish species, they can reach a length of six feet, although few reach that size. Pacific cod average from 5 to 10 pounds, producing fillets that range from 16 to 32 ounces in weight. Their fillets are white, with a firm texture, large flake and a mild taste. Pacific cod is high in protein and low in cholesterol and fat.

Habitat

Pacific cod are found in the North Pacific Ocean from Northern California to the Sea of Japan, with the largest populations in the U.S. Gulf of Alaska and Eastern Bering Sea.

Harvesting Method

In U.S. waters, Pacific cod are harvested with trawl, longline and longline “pot” gear. Quotas are allocated between these gear groups in both the Gulf of Alaska and the Eastern Bering Sea.

Fishery Management

In the United States, Pacific cod are sustainably managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of the United States Department of Commerce. Biological catch limits are determined by impartial scientists who work for NMFS, State fisheries agencies and universities. Quotas are set at or below the scientific limits by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a body made up of knowledgeable private citizens and State and Federal government officials. More information on the management of the Pacific cod fishery is available on  www.fishwatch.gov.

The Pacific cod fishery was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council in 2010. Information on the MSC and its certification of the yellowfin sole fishery is available on www.msc.org.

The Pacific cod fishery is under assessment as being responsibly managed by Global Trust under a program established by Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. More information on this program is available at sustainability.alaskaseafood.org/tools.