Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Longline
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Faroes grounds
Stock detail — 5b
Picture of Haddock

Sustainability rating four info

Sustainability overview

The stock in this area has been at previously depleted levels but increases above MSY Btrigger in 2018.. 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: 0.5 info

Stock Area

Faroes grounds

Stock information

The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been below Blim since 2009 but increases above MSY Btrigger in 2018. The fishing mortality (F) has decreased in recent years but is still above FMSY. Recruitment has been low from 2004 to 2016, while the 2017 and 2018 recruitments of one-year-olds are estimated to be high.
ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2019 should be no more than 5078 tonnes.


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. With the current state of the Faroese cod stock (around Blim), and with effort control not limiting fishing pressure, further development of management measures that includes the mixed-fishery issue is required. A new management system will be implemented for cod, haddock, and saithe after 1 January 2019. This management system operates with catch quotas for large vessels (trawlers and longliners), whereas it operates with fishing days for the small vessels (mainly longliners). Scientists recommend that the catch quota for the small vessels be converted into fishing days.

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 Skagerrak/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
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


ICES 2018. ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort Faroes Ecoregion. Published 13 June 2018. Available at: http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2018/2018/had.27.5b.pdf (Last Accessed June 2018);
ICES Advice 2017 http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/had.27.5b.pdf