Alaska’s halibut and sablefish (black cod) harvest seasons open March 19. This means more access to delicious, freshly caught and frozen wild Alaska seafood.
Alaska’s waters are home to over 95 percent of Pacific halibut and over 70 percent of sablefish harvested in the U.S. The 2016 statewide Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Alaska halibut is 18.2 million pounds, and 20.4 million pounds for sablefish. Like all Alaska seafood, Alaska halibut and sablefish are wild and sustainably harvested, as mandated by the Alaska Constitution. Alaska’s science-based fishery management practices are considered a world model.
The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is responsible for setting the annual halibut harvest limit for both Canada and the U.S. based on stock assessments and halibut biology. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) then makes allocative decisions based on that quota. In the Alaska black cod fisheries, the NPFMC reviews the harvest limits for federal waters while the state of Alaska manages fisheries in state waters.
Consumers look to chefs and restaurants to make tasty yet healthy and responsible choices available on their menus. While the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend at least 8 ounces of seafood per week, a recent USDA study found approximately 80 to 90 percent of Americans aren’t eating nearly enough. Americans spend about half their food budgets outside the home, and for seafood it’s even more—67 percent according to NOAA Fisheries.
Alaska halibut and black cod are two delicious whitefish choices. Alaska halibut is prized for its mild, sweet flavor, firm texture, and spectacular results whether grilled, roasted, sautéed, or poached. Featuring a beautiful snow-white fillet, perfect flake, and velvety texture, Alaska black cod is ideal for smoking, roasting, broiling, and sautéing due its high oil content.
Just like fruits and vegetables, wild Alaska seafood is harvested seasonally. While a harvest season signifies the availability of fresh fish, all species of wild Alaska seafood are available frozen year round.