Pollack, Saithe

Pollack, Saithe

Saithe and pollack live in similar areas in the North Atlantic and North Pacific in varying size shoals. They are not Mediterranean fish.

The minimum landing size is 30 cm.

Neither species is currently in danger, although the saithe is currently being fished extensively to meet the needs of the food industry.

Pollack had been forgotten about for a long time, but is now experiencing a revival thanks to environmental awareness and the promotion of responsible fishing.

When buying whole fish, both pollack and saithe must meet the usual freshness criteria: shiny scales, bulging, moist eyes, and red gills.

When buying steaks or fillets, the flesh must be unmarked and give off a good smell. Any whiff of ammonia should be treated with suspicion. 

Small pollack and saithe are sold fresh, whole, and cleaned, or cut up into steaks and fillets.

Both are sold as frozen fillets. Saithe is also made into fish cakes and fish sticks.

It can also be bought smoked and sliced.

Pollack, the less common of the two and of a superior taste and quality, is always more expensive than saithe.

Both fish, especially the pollack, can be used in almost any recipe as a substitute for cod, which is now an endangered species.

Whole and fresh fish should be kept in a cold room or in the refrigerator at 4°C for as short a time as possible, in their packaging or in their delivery box with ice.

Frozen fillets must be kept in the freezer without breaking the cold chain.

Both pollack and saithe are rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals.

They are very low in fat and therefore in Omega 3 and Vitamin D.


The pollack lives in the Atlantic, particularly in the North Sea and the English Channel.

It is best identified by the very visible lateral line above the pectoral fins than by its color, which changes over time: although the young are a strong yellow-orange color, the larger fish are copper or even quite dark brown. The belly is always white.

Pollacks are usually from 60–90 cm long, but at around 8–10 years old (their maximum life expectancy), they can be up to 120 cm long and weigh around 14 kg.

It has a fine, flaky flesh, like cod but with a much more delicate flavor.


The saithe can be found across the entire North Atlantic.

Its lateral line is very pale, almost white. The color of its back can be anything from greenish-brown to blackish dark gray. It has a silvery gray belly.

It is usually between 30–80 cm long. It can live much longer, up to 14 years, at which point it could measure up to 130 cm long and weigh up to 30 kg. However, the average weight of a saithe on the market is usually 2–3 kg.

Its flesh is less delicate than that of pollack; it is firmer but drier.

In Canada, it is used to make surimi.

In the food industry in France, it is referred to as colin or lieu.

Pollack and saithe are available throughout the year.

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