Haddock

Haddock
Common Name Haddock
Market Name Scrod, Scrod Haddock
Scientific name Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Sourcing Summary

Size

2-5 lbs.

Haddock is sold year-round; fresh whole, head-on, and headed and gutted; frozen whole headed and gutted, as skin-on fillets, and as blocks. Value-added haddock that’s breaded or smoked is also available.  Haddock’s thin connective tissue layer and finer flake differentiates it from cod. Haddock size differentiations are usually identified as snapper haddock (( 1.5lbs), scrod (1.5-2lbs.), and large(>2.5lbs). Haddock has a slightly sweet taste and lean, white meat that becomes whiter when cooked. Haddock Haddock can be used as a substitute for Atlantic cod, monkfish, or sea bass.

Key sustainability sourcing notes for haddock based on combining landings data from 2012-2016 and the most recent 2016 Seafood Watch assessments and MSC certifications:

  • ~90% of global haddock landings are from four countries (~35% Norway, ~30% Russia, ~15% Iceland, and ~10% U.K.) and Canada and U.S. make up ~3% and ~1% of global landings respectively
  • ~20% of global landings are MSC-certified
  • ~100% of U.S. landings are both MSC-certified and meet a Seafood Watch "Good Alternative (yellow)" rating
  • More than 95% of U.S. landings come through Massachusetts and ~90% of current landings are from Georges Bank stock and ~10% from Gulf of Maine stock
  • From 2012 to 2014, U.S. landings increased more than 200%, while global landings decreased ~33%
  • In 2015, U.S. landings of the combined haddock stocks was only ~20% of the total allowable catch (TAC)

Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Loins
Portions
Whole
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
Fillet
H&G
Portions
Whole

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
nonoyesyesyesnonononoyesyesyes

Culinary Composition

Mild

Flavor

Firm

Texture

Cooking Methods

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 87
Total Fat 1g
Cholesterol 57mg
Sodium 68mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 19g
Omega-3 0.2g

Biology

Haddock are a member of the cod family, distinguishable by a black spot, resembling a thumbprint, found on either side of their body. They are a smaller size than Atlantic cod but grow quickly, weighing between two and seven pounds, and reach one to three feet (30 cm to 91 cm) in length. They reach maturity between one and four years old and can live to over 10 years old; however, most are caught between three and seven years in age.

Spawning season occurs between January and June. An averaged-sized female can produce around 850,000 eggs, and a larger female can produce upwards of three million eggs. The eggs are released near the ocean floor, where a male will fertilize them. After fertilization, the eggs rise to the surface and drift with the current for about a month, until they hatch. The larvae remain near the surface for 30-45 days, before settling near the bottom.

Haddock feed on bottom-dwelling creatures, including mollusks, worms, crustaceans, and sea stars. Adults are known to also eat small fish such as herring. Haddock are preyed upon by many groundfish species such as cod, pollock, monkfish, halibut, etc. Marine mammals such as grey seals also prey upon adult haddock. 

Species Habitat

Haddock are found in both the eastern and western North Atlantic. In the western North Atlantic, they range from the Strait of Belle Isle, Newfoundland to Cape May, New Jersey. They are abundant in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank – being more abundant in the latter. Haddock can inhabit depths between 32 and 656 feet (10 and 200 meters) deep but are more commonly found in waters between 130 to 500 feet (40 to 152 meters) deep. They prefer temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (seven degrees Celsius). Haddock are demersal and live near the sea bottom generally around gravel, pebbles, clay, hard sand, and shell-based seabeds. Juveniles will inhabit shallower waters than adults and will occur near bank or shoal areas. Adults inhabit deeper waters, but each spring will move into shallower waters to spawn.

Science & Management

Wild
Science

Collaboration between the Atlantic Marine Aquaculture Centre, University of New Hampshire, and NOAA Fisheries scientists have discovered that haddock grow well in open ocean aquaculture systems. They have been raising and studying stocks of Atlantic cod, halibut, haddock, flounder, and mussels since 1998. The fish have low mortality rates, no incidence of disease or escape, and no detected impact on the surrounding environment. Research on feed formulation and maturation control is needed to improve growth rates.

A 2016 study done in Norway at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen and the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) in Oslo, in collaboration with NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Centre in Seattle, found that exposure to crude oil causes deformities in the heart and skull of haddock. Brief exposure of haddock eggs to low concentrations can cause developmental problems and can be fatal for developing fish. Haddock eggshells contain a unique protein that makes them especially vulnerable to oil, unlike the eggs of other fish species; however, oil byproducts can still cause deformities in most fish. Physiological channels that signal muscles in the heart and head of fish are disrupted by the oil compounds, and influence the development of bones connected to the muscles. Oil spills in areas with haddock and haddock eggs can lead to lasting impacts on the population and species that feed on haddock.

Management

NOAA Fisheries and the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) manage the US haddock fishery under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Implemented in 1986 to reduce fishing mortality on heavily fished groundfish stocks, the FMP and its subsequent amendments covers 20 stocks from 13 different species including haddock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic pollock, winter flounder, and other groundfish. Grouping these species together as one FMP allows the NEFMC to more effectively manage these species as they are often targeted using the same gear types in the same locations.

Management measures for Haddock as outlined by the Northeast Multispecies FMP include:

 

  • Permit requirements;
  • Time and area closures to control fishing pressure and to protect spawning populations and sensitive habitats;
  • Gear modifications – specifically size restrictions and requirements that mesh on trawl nets be large enough to let small, juvenile fish escape;
  • Annual catch limits on the amount of groundfish that can be caught as well as bycatch limits; and,
  • Size limits to ensure juveniles can spawn at least once before capture.

 

Additionally, fishers can participate in an optional catch share program that allows vessels to fish together in sectors. Those fishers whom participate in the catch share are exempt from certain gear and areas restrictions, but must stop fishing once their sector catches their pre-determined allocation of fish. Participating in the catch share allows fishers to choose when, where, and how they fish and allows for more flexibility in targeting stocks that are not overfished. 

Fishers operating in the Northeast Multispecies Fishery must follow management measures as outline in the Harbor Porpoise and Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plans to reduce interactions as well as unintended catch of marine mammals. These measures include gear restrictions, seasonal closures, and having acoustic alarms on nets. New England fishers often implement other voluntary measures to reduce marine mammal interactions such as reducing vessel turns and tow times during night fishing and increased communication between vessels when marine mammals are spotted in the area.

Commercial landings for haddock were valued at US $11.5 million in 2014. 2015 stock assessments indicate that both the Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine stock are not overfished nor subject to overfishing.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages the Canadian haddock fishery. The majority of the Canadian haddock stock and as such, commercial fishing, occurs in eastern Georges Bank – a transboundary resource between the US and Canada. The two countries collaboratively manage this stock through the Canada-United States Transboundary Management Guidance Committee that was established in 2000. In 2004 Canada and the US implemented a formal quota-sharing agreement to share the Georges Bank haddock harvest. The agreement includes a total allowable catch for each country and in-season monitoring for the US haddock catch. 

Harvest Methods

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Haddock are primarily fished in the U.S. and Canada along the North Atlantic. A smaller fishery exists in Iceland as well. Haddock matures at a young age and has a moderate lifespan, making it fairly resilient to fishing pressure. Starting in the late 1970s, North Atlantic haddock stocks began to be overfished and then crashed in the 1990s. Recovery didn’t begin until the late 1990s. Currently Georges Bank haddock are fished at a sustainable level, although fishing pressure in the Gulf of Maine remains too high, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Haddock stock is a moderate concern in Iceland.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

Most haddock in Canada, the U.S., and Iceland is caught with bottom trawl gear, which can harm the seafloor. A small amount of North American haddock is caught with hook and line, the most sustainable method for catching haddock because it minimizes bycatch and preserves the seafloor.

Bycatch

Bycatch is a serious concern in this fishery, mostly consisting of Atlantic cod and cusk. In Canada, overfished cod have “special concern” status and cusk are “threatened.” Other bycatch includes yellowtail, winter flounder, and white hake. Some fishermen use an eight-foot mesh in the front end of their nets called a haddock rope trawl or eliminator trawl that allows cod and other fish to escape, reducing bycatch.

Management effectiveness

The Atlantic haddock fishery is considered effectively managed. In the United States, haddock are managed by the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, which includes area closures, equipment restrictions, minimum catch size, total allowable catch requirements, as well as a cap on bycatch. An amendment in 2010 expanded catch-share management and increased operational efficiency, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Internationally, haddock falls under the International Council for the Exploration for the Sea. Management of the haddock fishery in Iceland is considered moderately effective.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Canada (MSC) Wild-caught  
Canada - Atlantic Bottom Longline  
Iceland (MSC) Wild-caught  
Norway - Barents Sea (MSC) Wild-caught
Norway - North Sea (MSC) Wild-caught
Norway - Norwegian Sea (MSC) Wild-caught
Russia - Barents Sea (MSC) Wild-caught
Russia - Norwegian Sea (MSC) Wild-caught
Scotland (MSC) Wild-caught  
USA - Georges Bank Bottom Trawl    
USA - Georges Bank Bottom Longline    
USA - Georges Bank Handline    
USA - Gulf of Maine Bottom Longline    
USA - Gulf of Maine Handline    
USA - Gulf of Maine Bottom Trawl    
Name Country State / Province
Airson Seafood Iceland
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
Allseas Fisheries Corp. Canada Ontario
American Fish & Seafood Company United States California
Aqua Star United States Washington
Arctic Fisheries Ltd. United States New York
Athena Surgeles France
Beyond the Sea Sales and Marketing, Inc. United States Massachusetts
Blue Circle Foods United States District of Columbia
Bristol Seafood United States Maine
Casey Fisheries Canada Nova Scotia
Catanese Classic Seafood United States Ohio
Channel Fish Processing Company, Inc. United States Massachusetts
Chatham Seafood Enterprises United States Massachusetts
CleanFish United States California
Codfathers Seafood Market Canada British Columbia
Daily Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Dennisport Lobster Co. United States Massachusetts
Domstein Fish AS Norway SJ
Euclid Fish Company United States Ohio
Export Packers Company Limited Canada Ontario
Fisherman's Market International Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Foley Fish United States Massachusetts
Global Seafoods Ltd. Canada Nova Scotia
Hallvard Lerøy USA, Inc. United States North Carolina
Halperns' Purveyors of Steak and Seafood United States Georgia
Ice-co Foods Iceland
J.J. McDonnell United States Maryland
Maximum Seafood Canada Ontario
Mood Fisheries Ltd. Canada Nova Scotia
Nordic Catch United States California
North Atlantic Inc. United States Maine
Northern Lakes Seafood & Meats United States Michigan
O'Neil Fisheries Limited Canada Nova Scotia
Off The Hook Community Supported Fishery
Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Fresh Fish Ltd. Canada Saskatchewan
Pacific Harvest Seafoods United States California
Pearlmark Foods Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Profish Ltd. United States District of Columbia
Raw Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Red's Best United States Massachusetts
Scottish Seas United Kingdom
Sea Born Products, Inc. United States Massachusetts
Sea Star Seafoods Canada Nova Scotia
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico United States New Mexico
SHS, LLC. United States Colorado
Sizzlefish United States North Carolina
Slade Gorton & Co Inc. United States Massachusetts
Sustainable Seafood Sales, LLC. United States Maine
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
The Fishin' Company United States Pennsylvania
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Whitecap International Seafood Exporters Canada Newfoundland and Labrador
Xsealent Seafood Company Canada Nova Scotia
ZF America United States Washington