Haddock

Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Rockall
Stock detail — VIb
Picture of Haddock

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

The haddock stock at Rockall is an entirely separate stock from that on the continental shelf of the British Isles. Haddock there have lower growth rates and reach a lower maximum size than other haddock populations in the Atlantic. The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has increased from the lowest observed in 2014 and is estimated to be above MSY Btrigger in 2017. Fishing mortality (F) has declined over time and is now below the required level.

Biology

Haddock is a cold-temperate (boreal) species. It is a migratory fish, found in inshore shallow waters in summer and in deep water in winter. Smaller than cod, it can attain a length of 70-100 cm and can live for more than 20 years. It spawns between February and June, but mostly in March and April. In the North Sea, haddock become sexually mature at an age of 3-4 years and a length of 30-40 cm. Maturity occurs later and at greater lengths in more northern areas of its range.

Stock information

Stock Area

Rockall

Stock information

The haddock stock at Rockall is an entirely separate stock from that on the continental shelf of the British Isles. Haddock there have lower growth rates and reach a lower maximum size than other haddock populations in the Atlantic. The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has increased from the lowest observed in 2014 and is estimated to be above MSY Btrigger. Fishing mortality (F) is highly variable and has been above FMSY since 2014 but below it in 2016. Recruitment during 2008-2012 is estimated to be extremely weak but has improved since. Recruitment in 2017 is estimated to be high.

Recruitment is thought to be related to rising seawater temperature on the Rockall bank. Also the availability of Calanus finmarchicus which is the main food item for larval and juvenile haddock at Rockall. This situation of food scarcity could have resulted in increased predation and food competition by grey gurnard. ICES state all these factors may have led to a reduction in the recruitment of Rockall haddock.

ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2018 should be no more than 5163 (4690 in 2016; 4310t in 2015; 1620 t in 2014).

Management

A management plan is under development and is currently being evaluated. Presently the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) only applies to catches in EU waters. Part of the Rockall area is in international waters where non-EU vessels are not subject to TAC restrictions, allowing for an unregulated fishery in these waters. An area in these or North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) waters around Rockall has been closed to fishing since 2001, and in 2002 part of the EU area was closed to trawling, both closures to protect young haddock. In 2007 further closures to mobile and static gears have been implemented to protect cold water corals. A discard ban has been in place in the NEAFC regulatory area since 2009. ICES advises further management measures should be introduced to reduce discarding of small haddock. Discard rates have improved substantially between those reported by weight for 2013 (58%) and those reported for 2015 (19%) and 2016 (10%).

Capture Information

Rockall haddock is taken in directed fisheries and as bycatch in demersal trawl (98%) and longline (2%) fisheries. The fisheries are mixed together with monk and megrim, and some of the fisheries include substantial catches of blue whiting and grey gurnard, for example. There is potential for damage to seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. Of a catch of 1967t in 2013, 58% by weight and 87% by number was discarded. There has been a substantial improvement in reducing discards since then. In 2016, 10% of the catch (2886 t) by weight was estimated as discarded. The minimum landing size for haddock in EU waters is 30cm (27cm in Skagerrak/Kattegat).

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Bass, seabass (Farmed)
Bream, Gilthead (Farmed)
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Haddock
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola
Pollack or Lythe
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Pouting or Bib
Sturgeon (Farmed)
Tilapia
Whiting

References

ICES Advice 2017, Book 5 http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/had.27.6b.pdf