The Alaskan pollock fishery has been a symbol of sustainable fishing practices since its original certification through the Marine Stewardship Council in 2005. The fishery includes operations within the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands, which account for the entirety of the Alaskan pollock industry.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international, nonprofit, third-party organization that evaluates fisheries based upon best practices, environmental impact, and sustainability. Their mission is to provide consumers with an unbiased assessment index to give them the opportunity to make informed and responsible choices about seafood purchases. It also creates a standard for fisheries to aim for in their organization and practices.
Certification with the MSC lasts for five years. The Alaska pollock fishery is officially certified for one more year, and so is currently engaged in a recertification process. Assessors are looking not only at harvest levels versus biological catch, but also issues such as bycatch (unintended or unwanted fish destroyed in the harvesting process) and impact on the marine ecosystem where fishing takes place.
The Alaskan pollock fishery is, to date, one of the most progressively managed in the world. Pollock is commonly used in processed fish foods, resulting in everything from fish sticks to fake crab.