Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Faroes grounds
Stock detail


Picture of Haddock

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

The stock in this area is depleted. There is no management or recovery plan yet implemented for it’s recovery. Avoid eating.


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

Criterion score: 0.75 info

Stock Area

Faroes grounds

Stock information

The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has decreased since 2003 and is estimated to have been below Blim since 2010, except in 2017. The fishing mortality (F) has decreased in recent years but is still above FMSY. Recruitment (age 1) from 2004 onwards has been well below the long-term average. However, the 2016 year class is estimated to be above average. Up until 2017 ICES has advised that there be no directed fishery on haddock, measures be put in place to minimise bycatch of haddock in other fisheries and a recovery plan implemented as a prerequisite to reopening the directed fishery. In 2017 ICES advised that fishing mortality should be not more than 3.5k tonnes and advises that when the MSY approach is applied, fishing mortality in 2018 should be no more than 0.165, corresponding to catches of no more than 4570 t.


Criterion score: 0.75 info

There is no management plan for this stock. A preliminary management plan, including a recovery plan, was formulated in 2011, but has not been implemented. An effort management system based on the number of fishing days, closed areas and other technical measures has been in use since 1996 to ensure sustainable exploitation of stocks in the area. This has however not achieved the expected reduction of fishing on depleted stocks. The Faroese Parliament decides the number of allocated fishing days for each new fishing season. The number of fishing days used by the main fleet targeting haddock (longliners) only amounts to around half of the allocated days. With surplus allocated fishing days, current effort control is not limiting fishing pressure. Faroe Plateau cod and Faroe haddock are caught in a mixed fishery. In the current state of both stocks (around Blim), and with effort control not limiting fishing pressure, further development of management measures that includes the mixed-fishery issue is required.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Haddock are mainly caught in a directed longline fishery for cod and haddock and as bycatches in trawl fisheries for saithe. In 2016 longliners accounted for 79% (81% in 2015) of the 3465 t catch with trawlers taking the rest. Longlining is a less fuel intensive and generally a more selective method of fishing. However, this fishery is responsible for bycatch of juvenile and young haddock. There is also possible bycatch of shark and other non-target species, including seabirds. The minimum landing size for haddock in EU waters is 30cm (27cm in Skaggerak/Kattegat).


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
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola
Pollack or Lythe
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Pouting or Bib
Sturgeon (Farmed)


ICES Advice 2017 http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/had.27.5b.pdf