The Alaska Journal of Commerce just reported that Trident Seafoods swept the awards for new products at the 26th annual Alaska Symphony of Seafood in Juneau. So what had everyone talking? Alaska Pollock Protein Noodles! The noodle is fully cooked and packaged to readily replace traditional noodles in a myriad of recipes. They are described by Trident as a ‘versatile, flavor neutral alternative to high-carb noodles’. So is the Alaska Pollock Protein Noodle a revolution?
PCCRC research fellow Cory Graham and coauthors Drs. Trent Sutton, Milo Adkison, and Megan McPhee at UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Science as well as Philip Richards with ADF&G recently published work that evaluates growth, survival, and recruitment of Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska. The article was published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.
Lent, a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays), is a religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Wednesday March 6th of this year. The word lent comes from the Proto-Germanic word for spring (langatīnaz) which itself is a combination of the words langaz (long) + tīnaz (day). So what does this have to do with Pollock you ask? In 1962, Lou Groen, a McDonald's franchise owner in Cincinnati, Ohio noticed he was losing buisness on Fridays as a result of many Catholics abstaining from eating meat on Fridays during this period. In response, the Filet-O-Fish was born.
Now McDonalds slings 25% of their wild-caught Alaska Pollock fish sandwiches during Lent! On social media people have referred to the season as ‘Filet-O-Fish season’ in response to many fast food restaurants offering fish sandwiches as an alternative. Here is a slightly dated article from QSR magazine which outlines various fast food restaurants and their lent menu additions: https://www.qsrmagazine.com/news/fast-food-preps-seafood-boom-during-lent
Wild-caught Alaska Pollock is available year round. There are a plethora of recipes online to construct your own Filet-O-Fish sandwich. If you want, every season could be Filet-O-Fish season!
A recent article by Nat Herz at KTOO public media reports on a trend both pollock skippers and scientists are observing. The distribution of Alaska pollock during the summer season is changing drastically which has forced commercial fishers to explore areas they have not fished previously. Last summer temperatures in the Bering Sea were nearly 9 degrees higher than normal. The article has a great overview of the Pollock fishery and how the warming climate may be responsible for the changes being observed.
On the 1st of February the PCCRC board and researchers from around Alaska gathered in the Adventure room of the Captain Cook hotel in Anchorage Alaska. Principle investigators and their graduate students gave 30 minute presentations on the status of their projects. A total of 11 presentations (12 research projects and 1 graduate fellowships) were given on research topics ranging from pollock roe dumplings (we hear they are tasty!) to the interactions between arrowtooth flounder and pacific halibut!
On the 31st of December the PCCRC board held a board meeting to discuss current projects and project proposals from the 2019 LOI. Be sure to check the research projects page to see the new research the board decided to fund for the upcoming year!
The 2019 PCCRC PI symposium is taking place this Friday (Februrary 1) in the Adventure Room at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage. Eleven researchers and their graduate students will present their projects with a short question answer session.
A recent article on Undercurrent News does a fantastic job describing the current market outlook for Alaska Pollock. At the Global Seafood Market Conference in 2017 Michael Holley, the commodity procurement manager for seafoods with US Foods, appealed to the industry to make pollock sexy. In an epic clapback, Trident’s Torunn Halhjem at the 2019 GSMC declared, “sexy is definitely back for wild Alaska pollock”. The undercurrent article goes in depth into the drivers that are making the current markets and demand so strong.
Julie Nielsen and Kaitlyn Manishin recently successfully defended their PhD. dissertation and Master’s thesis respectively. Dr. Nielsen’s project investigated the large-scale movement patterns of demersal fish with electronic tags. Mrs. Manishin’s research evaluated under what scenarios salmon shark predation could influence the dynamics of Chinook salmon in the AYK region of Alaska. Video recordings of both defenses are available.
Project 15-01 investigated Chinook salmon survival with a life stage-structured statistical population dynamics model. The work is published in Global Change Biology. You can read more about the work by following the link in the citation below!
Cunningham, C.J., P.A.H. Westley, and M.D. Adkison. 2018. Signals of large scale climate drivers, hatchery enhancement, and marine factors in Yukon River Chinook salmon survival revealed with a Bayesian life history model. Global Change Biology 24(9): 4399–4416. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14315