As the seasons change so do the species of fish that can be found in UK waters. Our coasts are
relatively quiet during the beginning of spring as some fish begin to travel to their spawning grounds and others, which may have migrated away for the winter, are yet to return. However many local species of fish, such as pollack, are thriving.
Pollack is native to the UK and despite moving deeper during the winter can be found here all year round. The species, which is part of the cod family, is often fished from the coastal waters of the South West where it is abundant during the first few months of the year. In fact an estimated 60% of the annual catch is landed between February and April.
In recent years consumer demand for pollack has been on the rise as many people seek sustainable alternatives to white fish species such as cod and haddock. UK fished pollack is classed as sustainable as our local stocks are considered healthy. In fact around 90% of pollack landed in the UK comes from a strong population found off the coast of Cornwall.
There are various ways of commercially fishing pollack. Hand lining is the traditional method of
fishing where hooks are attached to fishing lines. This method is viewed as the most sustainable as there is little bycatch or environmental damage. However, pollack can also be fished using gill nets and trawling nets.
When buying pollack it is important to make sure the catch is fresh as this will ensure the highest
quality and best flavour. Fresh pollack will have bright eyes, shiny scales and have a fresh sea smell. If you are buying frozen or smoked pollack it is important to check the packaging has no signs of damage and that the fish is not decaying or defrosting.
Once you have purchased the pollack, preferably from a local fish monger or market, it can be
refrigerated for up to 2 days or put in the freezer for a maximum of 2 months before use. When
preparing the fish it is important to remember it will need pin-boning and descaling (if you are
leaving the skin on).
Pollack can be cooked in a variety of ways such as poaching or grilling. It is also very versatile and can be used as a substitute for most white fish making it perfect for a range as it is of dishes from the nation’s favourite Friday night dinner, fish and chips, to hearty fish pies and casseroles.
To find out more about sustainable fishing visit the Marine Stewardship Council website:
https://20.msc.org/what-we- are-doing/our- approach/what-is- sustainable-fishing.