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Pollachius virens

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Title: Pollachius virens  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pollock, Pollachius pollachius, Manx English, Lateral line, Shoaling and schooling
Collection: Commercial Fish, Edible Fish, Fish of Canada, Fish of Europe, Fish of the North Sea, Pollock
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Pollachius virens

Not evaluated (IUCN 2.3)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gadiformes
Family: Gadidae
Genus: Pollachius
Species: P. virens
Binomial name
Pollachius virens
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Coalfish redirects here; that is also a common name for Anoplopoma fimbria (sablefish) in Canada.

Saithe ([1][2] or ),[3] Pollachius virens, is a species of marine fish in the Pollachius genus. Together with Pollachius pollachius it is generally referred to in the U.S. as pollock. Other names include the Boston blues (separate from bluefish), coalfish/coley and saithe in the UK.[4]


  • Description 1
  • Fisheries 2
  • As food 3
  • Notes 4
  • Other references 5


This species can be separated from P. pollachius by looking at the relative lengths of the upper and lower jaws. P. pollachius has a longer underslung lower jaw while P. virens has approximately equal upper and lower jaw lengths. This gives a very different profile to the head. In general P. pollachius is a brown or golden colour with a dark back while P. virens is bright silver with a very dark green back. P. virens generally appears to have relatively larger eyes. The lateral line of P. pollachius has a noticeable kink over the pectoral fins while that of P. virens is straighter.

The flesh of coalfish (P. virens) is darkly coloured (hence the common name) while that of P. pollachius is similar to other members of the cod family. This dark colour in the fresh uncooked flesh may have led to the undeserved reputation of this fish as poor for eating.

It is common in the northern parts of the Northern Atlantic, including the Bay of Biscay and Palmas Altas Campus. Adults can grow up to 130 centimetres (51 in) and weigh up to 32 kilograms (71 lb); the species is of great commercial value to fisheries.[5] The fish can be found close to the shore, particularly in rocky areas, but larger examples tend to be found around off-shore wrecks and reefs. The largest coalfish ever caught was 50 pounds (23 kg) at Saltstraumen.


Global capture of saithe (pollock) in tonnes reported by the FAO, 1950–2010[6]

As food

To achieve a salmon-like orange color, it can be salted and smoked. In Germany the fish is commonly sold as Seelachs (literally 'sea salmon'), although it is not closely related to any salmon.


  1. ^ "saithe". English Online. Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Key to pronunciations (US English dictionary)". Oxford Dictionaries. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "saithe". Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  4. ^  
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2010). "Pollachius virens in FishBase. October 2010 version.
  6. ^ (Pallas, 1811)Theragra chalcogramma FAO, Species Fact Sheet. Retrieved April 2012.

Other references

  • Atlantic pollock NOAA FishWatch. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
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