Pollachius pollachius (Linnaeus 1758), Pollack (Gadidae)
Author: Ronald Fricke, Germany
1. Description of the habitat/autecology of the species
The Pollack Pollachius pollachius lives pelagic to benthopelagic, mostly either in mid-water or close to shore over hard bottoms. It mainly feeds on fish, and occasionally on cephalopods and crustaceans (shrimps and crabs). The species spawns from March to May, at a water temperature of 8-10°C, in deeper water. The eggs and larvae are pelagic. Maximum total length of adults 130 cm, maximum body weight 18.1 kg, maximum individual age 8 years (Fricke, 1987: 72-73; Froese & Pauly, 2005).
2. Distribution (past and present)
Distributed from Kattegat to southern Baltic Sea. Outside the HELCOM area, it lives in the Northeast Atlantic from the Bay of Biscay to Norway and Iceland
3. Importance (sub-regional, Baltic Sea-wide, global)
According to the definition in HELCOM (2007), this species is neither of local nor of global importance in the HELCOM area. Historically it has been of importance for commercial fishery in Kattegat but nowadays only a few tonnes are landed by the Swedish fishery yearly.
4. Status of threat/decline
This species is threatened and its population have been significantly declining throughout its range in HELCOM area, and it is threatened also in other European waters. Pollack is listed as endangered (EN) in the HELCOM area according to IUCN criteria, and as a HELCOM high priority species (HELCOM, 2007). The species is classified as endangered (EN) in the Swedish Red List, and considered as a threatened migrant (TM) in Germany.
5. Threat/decline factors
Threatened by fisheries both as a target species and as by-catch in pelagic and demersal fisheries. The species is not considered rare in HELCOM area, but it is sensitive to human activity, and a keystone species.
6. Options for improvement
Measures for the conservation of pollack may include restrictions in pelagic and demersal fisheries in the area where it occurs. Additional measures outside the HELCOM area, in the greater North Sea area, may improve pollack populations.
Anonymous, 2004. 2004 Initial OSPAR List of Threatened and/or Declining Species and Habitats (References number 2004-06). OSPAR Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-east Atlantic, Meeting of the OSPAR Commission (OSPAR), Reykjavik, 28 June-1 July 2004.
Fricke R. 1987. Deutsche Meeresfische. Bestimmungsbuch. Hamburg (DJN), 219 pp.
Froese R. & Pauly D. (eds) 2005. FishBase. Available in: www.fishbase.org, version (11/2005).
HELCOM 2007. HELCOM Red list of threatened and declining species of lampreys and fish of the Baltic Sea. Baltic Sea Environmental Proceedings, No. 109, 40 pp. Available in: http://www.helcom.fi/stc/files/Publications/Proceedings/bsep109.pdf