Consortium pushes Atlantic pollock as sustainable alternative to cod in New England
New England fishermen have caught more than 10 million pounds of Atlantic pollock every year since 2003, and now a loose consortium of proponents are advocating for its greater use as a cheaper alternative to cod and haddock.
As New England’s cod fishery has been damaged by slow reproduction, tight quotas and the impacts of climate change, a group of fishermen, processors, restaurateurs and sustainable seafood advocates are aiming to rebrand Atlantic pollock as New England's fish, according to an Associated Press article.
"We're catching a lot of it," Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, said in the article. "People should be looking for product of Maine, product of New England. Asking questions of those who are selling you fish."
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute considers Atlantic pollock a "responsibly harvested" species and has worked to encourage its use in restaurants. According to the article, federal fishery statistics suggest Atlantic pollock is gaining acceptance with consumers.
Five years ago, the total catch of Atlantic pollock was worth less than half the value of cod, but its per-pound value has gone up by 75 percent since then. In 2014, it made up a higher percentage of the New England groudfishing business value, the article said.
The Atlantic pollock is also known as “Boston blue” and the “blue cod” and it is a member of the cod family, though not in the same genus. The article said that while Atlantic pollock is fattier and has stronger flavor, it is gaining acceptance in places with active food scenes, such as Portland, Maine.