The haddock stock in these areas is currently in a healthy state and harvested sustainably. However, haddock is caught in mixed fisheries with cod which are severely depleted in these areas. To help reduce the impact of fishing on fish stocks which are depleted or being heavily fished, choose line-caught fish where available or if trawl-caught ask for fish from boats using measures, such as eliminator trawls, to protect depleted stocks and reduce bycatch and discarding. There is a seine and trawl fishery (Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) for haddock in the North Sea certified as an environmentally responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in October 2010. Certified and therefore fully traceable haddock is the best choice for this fishery.
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 70-100cm 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 30-40cm. Maturity occurs later and at greater lengths in more northern areas of its range.
The stock is classified as 'having full reproductive capacity' or as healthy and above the precautionary level recommended by ICES, and is being harvested sustainably. The biomass has been declining in recent years, following low levels of recruitment, and it is thought that at current fishing mortality this decrease will continue. However, the change will be small and biomass will remain above the precautionary level. There is an EU (and Norwegian) management plan for this species, with an agreement in place to keep SSB above Blim (100,000t). North Sea haddock exhibits sporadically high recruitment leading to dominant year classes in the fishery, the last of which was the strong 1999 year class. Apart from 2005 and 2009 year classes, which are above average, recent recruitment has been poor. ICES advises that landings in 2013 should be no more than 47,811t.
Gillnetting produces less bycatch and fewer discards than trawls. Since haddock is mostly taken in mixed fisheries with cod and whiting, ICES scientists have advised that fishing for haddock should take place without bycatch or discards of cod. The minimum landing size for haddock in EU waters is 30cm (27cm in Skaggerak/Kattegat).
ICES Advice 2012, Book 6
(Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 3 and below are included.)
Read what the consumer pages of the Good Fish Guide say about this species.
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