Perhaps, everyone is familiar with pollock fish, which is very popular in various catering establishments. Everyone has known the taste of pollock since childhood, because fish dishes in kindergartens are almost always made from this famous member of the cod family. The taste qualities of pollock are known to many, but rarely anyone can tell about his habits, life activity, spawning period, places of permanent deployment. Let's try to understand all the vital nuances of this fish, describing its main features and external features.
Origin of the species and description
Pollock can definitely be called a cold-loving fish , belonging to the cod-like order, the cod family and the pollock genus. Pollock is widely known all over the world, because it has excellent taste, dietary and very healthy meat, with few bones.
Interesting fact: Pollock is used to produce long-loved crab sticks, fish snacks for beer, the famous Filet-o-Fish hamburger at McDonald's, etc.
The commercial value of pollock is enormous. Among all its cod relatives, walleye pollock leads in terms of catch volumes. It is believed that approximately half of the global pollock catch per year falls on England and European countries, the rest of the catch is carried out by fishing companies in our country. Pollock has different varieties, the most famous of them are Atlantic and European pollock.
In stores, we are used to seeing frozen pollock, small in size and devoid of a head. In fact, this fish is able to grow up to one meter in length and weigh about 3 kg, although the average size of pollock is 75 cm, and it weighs about one and a half kilograms. On the territory of our country, pollock is considered the minimum commercial size, the length of which is 20 cm. Some sources claim that fish can grow up to five kilograms. Perhaps there are such weighty specimens in the expanses of the World Ocean, because the water depths hide many secrets and mysteries.
Appearance and features
We figured out the dimensions of the fish, let's move on to considering its shape. The whole figure of pollock is elongated and narrows strongly closer to the tail section. The scales on the body are small and silvery, in the region of the ridge their color is noticeably darker. Pollock is characterized by a pattern in the form of small dark brown spots that are scattered over the body and head and are located precisely in the upper part of the fish, which is darker in color than the light, whitish belly.
The head of the fish looks quite good relative to its body large, it has very large fish eyes. A distinctive feature of pollock is a small mustache, located under the lower fish lip, it performs a tactile function, because this fish is deep-sea. It is worth noting that the jaw fish apparatus protrudes slightly forward from the underside.
Pollock has three dorsal and two anal fins, which are separated by small gaps. Three separate fins rise on the ridge of the fish, the first is very close to the head area, the second is the largest and longest, the third is closer to the tail area. Pollock also has fins located on the belly, which are in front of the pectorals. The lateral fish line is characterized by rather sharp bends.
Where does pollock live?
Pollock is a widespread fish. He chose the North Atlantic, meeting in its western and eastern parts. In the west, the range of fish settlement extends from the Hudson Strait to Cape Hatteras, located in North Carolina. In the east of the North Atlantic, the fish settled from Svalbard to the Bay of Biscay.
Pollock also lives in the waters of the Barents Sea near Iceland. In the northeast of the Atlantic pollock can be found in the coastal zone of the Norwegian state, near the Faroe Islands, the territory of its deployment reaches the aforementioned Bay of Biscay and the coasts of Ireland and England.
As for the Asian coast, pollock inhabits the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Japan.
On the American coast, fish is deployed in the waters:
- Bering Sea;
- Monterey Bay;
- Alaska Bay.
It should be added that pollock is almost impossible to meet in the ocean waters south of the Sangar Strait, which connects the waters of the Sea of Japan with the Pacific Ocean. Only occasionally there are single individuals, it is not for nothing that this fish is considered cold-loving, because it prefers cool, icy waters. In general, pollock is called a bottom-pelagic fish, i.e. a fish that lives in the water zone, which is not in close proximity to the bottom surface.
Now you know where pollock is found. Let's see what he eats.
What does pollock eat?
Pollock, in fact, leads a peaceful existence, not hunting for other large fish, although it is considered a predator.
The pollock diet, for the most part, consists of:
Young growth prefers plankton, gradually switching to larger food, which consists of squid and small fish (Asian smelt, capelin). Caviar and fry are found in the fish menu.
Interesting fact: Pollock is inherent in such an unpleasant phenomenon as cannibalism, therefore, without a twinge of conscience, he can eat both larvae and fry of his own tribesmen .
Along with mackerel, horse mackerel, tuna, cod, which are also considered residents of the pelagic zone, walleye pollock finds food at various trophic levels, deploying, for the most part, in the upper layer of ocean waters. Due to the fact that the lower jaw is slightly longer and protrudes forward, it is easier for pollock to catch various small living creatures floating in the water. Large, round eyes characteristic of deep-sea fish are excellent for spotting prey even at sufficient depth, and a small tactile barbel detects the slightest movement nearby, making it easier to detect underbite.
Fun fact: Transition pollock is closer to eight or even ten years of age to feed on larger prey.
img src=”/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/f4e2ecb3618ca9d7a11f8417212215c5.jpg” aria-describedby=”caption-attachment-13099″ class=”size-full wp-image-13099″ width=”600″ height=” 350″ alt=”Photo: Pollock in water” />
Pollock is unpretentious, easily adapts to life at different depths, so it feels great both at a depth of 700 meters and more, and in the surface layer of water. The most acceptable level of its habitat is considered to be a depth of about two hundred meters, here it can most often be found. Pollock can be confidently called not only a deep-sea inhabitant, but also cold-loving, the water temperature is considered comfortable for it, ranging from 2 to 9 degrees with a plus sign.
Pollock is a collective fish that exists and moves, forming flocks. A large accumulation of fish is observed during the spawning period, then small flocks of pollock unite into larger and more numerous ones. At dusk, schools of fish try to stay close to the surface of the water, or stand in its middle layers. During the day, fish swim to depths of 200 meters and deeper.
Pollack shoals make vertical movements many times a day, getting food in water layers of various depths. During spawning, pollock is found in large numbers in the coastal zone, but does not come closer to the shore than a fifty-meter distance.
An interesting fact: pollock growth is quite rapid, its length and weight are fast increase. Closer to the age of two years, the length of the fish is about 20 cm, after another two years it grows by 10 cm, becoming thirty centimeters.
Social structure and reproduction
As mentioned earlier, walleye pollock is a schooling fish, during the spawning period, its flocks are significantly enlarged, their numbers become large enough, so the fish form dense clusters near the coasts. The fish becomes sexually mature at the age of three or four. At this age, it reaches its maximum size, its weight can vary from 2.5 to 5 kilograms.
The mating season for fish stationed in different territories begins at different periods. Pollock, living in the Bering Sea, spawns in spring and summer. Pacific pollock spawns in winter and in spring, preferring the very beginning of spring. Kamchatka pollock likes to spawn in the spring, when the conditions for this are most comfortable. Cold-loving marine life does not interfere even with negative water temperatures, so they are able to spawn, even when it drops to two degrees with a minus sign. spawn about 15 times. And the average life expectancy of this cod-like fish is 15 years.
Even in frost, females reproduce thousands of eggs, which, like wanderers, continue to wander in the thickness of the water element. Usually, they do not fall below a fifty-meter depth. The whole secret is stored in salt water, the freezing point of which is much lower than that of fresh water. And pollock is so accustomed to cold water that its blood flowing through fish veins is similar to car antifreeze.
Pollock's natural enemies
Since pollock is a deep-sea fish, there is not a large number of ill-wishers from whom a real threat comes in natural conditions. There were no specific recorded cases of the attack of one or another large fish on walleye pollock. One can only assume that large-sized squids and certain varieties of anglerfish, which also live at depth, can become its enemies.
The pollock becomes most vulnerable during spawning, when large flocks are near the surface of the water near the coast. Of course, the main enemy of this fish of the cod family is a person who catches pollock on a huge scale. Pollock can be called the leader in terms of catch among other commercial fish.
An interesting fact: Back in the 80s of the last century, the total world catch of pollock was 7 million tons.
Now these figures have declined, reaching 3 million, only our country accounts for 1.6 million tons. Fish meat is not only tasty, but also valuable, rich in various minerals and vitamins. Another feature of pollock is its low calorie content, so it is also successfully used in dietary nutrition.
The price of this fish is considered low on the market, so pollock is in great demand among buyers. Large numbers of fish are caught using fixed nets and trawls, which has an impact on pollock numbers and concerns conservation organizations.
Population and species status
The commercial value of pollock is great, and its production is carried out on a large scale, which affects the size of the fish population, but not as critical as it seemed until recently. There is evidence that in the 2000s, the number of pollock has greatly decreased in the Sea of Okhotsk. At first, it was thought that this was due to overfishing, but this was an erroneous assumption. Scientists have found that the number was affected by the yield of the generation, which was low in the 90s, which led to a decrease in the number. As it was established later, the number of fish stock is strongly affected by climate change.
In 2009, the environmental organization Greenpeace expressed strong concern about the state of the pollock population and urged citizens not to buy or eat this fish in order to keep the population at a sufficient level. Scientists assure that now only 20 percent of the total amount of fish is caught, this practically does not affect its further reproduction. The generations of fish that were born in the 2010s were very productive and significantly replenished the fish ranks.
Today, it can be noted that pollock stocks remain quite large-scale, now fish fishing has significantly decreased compared to the past century. Pollock is not on the red lists and is not threatened with extinction, which is very encouraging. It remains to hope that this state of affairs will continue in the future.
Tastyly cooked pollock has long become an ordinary dish for us, which has been familiar since childhood. Perhaps this was influenced by its acceptable and affordable price. Pollock can be called the master among all commercial fish, because it occupies a leading position in terms of prey size. A small price does not indicate unsuitable taste, which, on the contrary, remains at its best.