Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Demersal otter trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Northeast Arctic
Stock detail

I & II

Picture of Haddock

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

The spawning stock biomass is healthy and well above target, however fishing pressure is too high and above the required sustainable target level. The Norway NE Arctic offshore haddock fisheries and the demersal trawl fishery for haddock within the Norwegian and Russian EEZ and in international waters of the Barents Sea, have been certified as environmentally responsible fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).


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: 0.25 info

Stock Area

Northeast Arctic

Stock information

The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has been above MSY Btrigger since 1989. Due to the strong recruitment-at-age 3 in 2007-2009 (2004-2006 year classes) the stock reached an all-time high level around 2013. SSB is now decreasing, but remains well above MSY Btrigger. Fishing mortality has increased in recent years and is now above FMSY = Ftarget, but below Fpa.
ICES advises that when the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission management plan is applied, catches in 2019 should be no more than 152 000 tonnes (202 305 tonnes in 2018; 233 000 tonnes in 2017).


Criterion score: 0.5 info

The fishery is managed under a plan administered by the Joint Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission to ensure a high and sustainable yield from the stock.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Haddock is mainly fished by trawl and is taken both in directed fisheries and as bycatch in the fishery for cod. There is a potential for damage to the seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. In addition to quotas, the fishery is also regulated by other measures, such as maximum bycatch of undersized and non-target species, and closure of areas with a high density of juveniles. Sorting grids have been mandatory in most of the Barents Sea and the Svalbard area since 1999, ensuring a more selective catch.


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
Cod, Pacific Cod
Coley, Saithe
Hake, Cape
Hake, European
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)


ICES 2018. ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Faroes, Greenland Sea, Iceland Sea, and Norwegian Sea ecoregions. Published 13 June 2018. Available at: http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2018/2018/had.27.1-2.pdf (Accessed June 2018);
ICES, 2017. ICES advice: Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in subareas 1 and 2 (Northeast Arctic). Published 13 June 2017. Available at http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/had.27.1-2.pdf (Accessed 30 June 2017).