Seasonal Seafood of the Month - Pollock
The Pollock is another one of those fish which is often overlooked by consumers in this country, who instead ‘play-it-safe' and opt for Cod or Haddock.
Our Celtic cousins across the Channel take a different view - visit any fish restaurant in Brittany and ‘Lieu Jaune' (pollack) will often be the daily special or main attraction on the menu. The value that the French place on pollock is reflected by the price they are willing to pay (or barter) for it.
Traditionally pollock have been taken either by inshore ‘cove' fishermen using handlines around the rocks or as a by-catch by fishermen targeting cod and other ‘roundfish' species. However, better access to the French market has resulted in a steadily increasing price paid at first sale for this species. As a result local fishermen are targeting pollock with hand-lines and gill nets fishing in their favoured habitats; over hard ground, rocky outcrops and wrecks, and presenting as a premium quality product on the market. In reaction to rising prices and the increasing value placed on line-caught fish, discussions are currently being held concerning the labeling of pollock in the same manner that line-caught caught Bass are labeled (see www.linecaught.org.uk) providing "line-to-plate" traceability.
Another good reason to try Pollack is that approximately 90% of the pollock landed in the UK is caught off the SW and landed into Cornish Ports. Landings are steady at just over 1000 tonnes per annum and the stocks is said to be ‘stable' by ICES Fisheries Scientists. Pollack is available most of the year but more abundant in the first quarter, with 60% of the annual catch being taken in February, March and April.
This is a truly versatile fish than can be used as a cheaper, high-quality substitute for cod and haddock (or any other round fish) in fish recipes. Pollack lends itself particularly well to fish pie, either in isolation or in a mix with other whitefish species. Why not warm yourself up this winter with a hearty home made pollock fish pie?
Other fresh fish and shellfish in season
This month you can also enjoy: