Whiting

Merlangius merlangus

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

VIb


Picture of Whiting

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

There is no stock assessment, specific data or specific management for this fishery. Landings in the area are thought to be negligible. However around 22 tonnes landed into UK by UK vessels in 2014. In accordance with the precautionary approach, this fishery requires data collection to enable a more comprehensive or analytical stock assessment before it can be recommended as anything other than unsustainable. ICES advises catches of no more than 11 tonnes in 2015. Avoid eating fish below the size at which it matures, 30 cms, and during its breeding season, January to July.

Biology

Whiting is a slender bodied, sandy, blue-green coloured fish with conspicuous white sides and belly, silvery when alive. A member of the gadoid family, the same as cod and haddock, it occurs throughout northeast Atlantic waters at a wide range of depths, from shallow inshore waters to depths of 200m. They mature at an age of 2-3 years and at a length of about 30 cms. The average landed length is usually around 30-40 cms, however whiting can grow up to 70 cm and 3 kg. Whiting breeds between January and July, but mostly in spring. The maximum reported age is 20 years.

Stock information

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

Rockall

Stock information

There is insufficient information available to evaluate stock status, i.e. the fishing mortality or exploitation and spawning stock biomass for the stock. The main cause of this is lack of data. Scientists state it is unlikely that there is a self-sustaining population of whiting at Rockall. Based on precautionary considerations ICES advises a 20% reduction in catches in 2013 and 2014. The same catch advice i.e. no more than 11t is applicable in 2015 to 2018.

Management

Criterion score: 0.75 info

There is no management plan for whiting in this area. Since 2014, there has been effort to improve coverage by the Scottish industry/science observer sampling scheme in Subareas IV and VI. The sampling coverage now is more likely to reflect fishing patterns. Agreed total allowable catches for whiting in this area are far in excess of landings from Rockall and reflect the fishery in adjacent international waters.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Whiting taken in this area is taken as bycatch in fisheries for other species such as haddock and anglerfish. Landings in 2014 were 28 t with 2t discarded.

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

References

ICES Advice 2016, Book 5 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2015/2015/whg-rock.pdf