The haddock is easily recognisable with the black spot under the leading dorsal fin, the black stripe along the body and the small barbel on the chin. The haddock is a bottom fish and is found at depths between 40 and 300 m. In Norway, a distinction is made between two different haddock stocks: North East Arctic haddock, which are found north of 62ºN, and the haddock stock in the North Sea and the strait of Skagerrak. The North East Arctic haddock stock, which is found along the entire Norwegian coast north of Stad, in the Barents Sea and on the west side of Svalbard, constitutes the majority of the fi sheries. An immature haddock grows approximately 7–9 cm per year, but the growth varies from year to year and from area to area. The haddock becomes sexually mature when it is 40–60 cm long and 4–7 years old. It can be up to 20 years old. The spawning period is between March and July, and haddock spawn widely over deep water. The most important spawning area is the west side of the bank area known as Tromsøflaket. Other important spawning areas in Northern Norway are off the bank areas of Røstbanken and Vesterålsbankene, but haddock also spawn along the Eggakanten area off Møre og Romsdal. The haddock lives on various types of bottom-dwelling animals. The younger fish eat plankton found in the upper part of the ocean, while the older and larger fish eat fish eggs, prawns and other small fi sh. Even though the haddock is a bottom feeder, it can also be found higher up in the water column.
Haddock are fished throughout the entire year. The fishing takes place in coastal areas and on the fishing banks to the north in the eastern portions of the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone. Bottom otter trawls, Danish seines, lines and gillnets are the most common types of fishing gear.
Each year, Norwegian and international research provides a basis for advice on sustainable catch in the North-eastern Atlantic Ocean. Based on the advice from the ICES, Norway negotiates on the quota allocation with other countries that fi sh for the same stocks. When the quota has been determined, the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries allocates the Norwegian share to Norwegian fishers. It is the authorities who grant a licence to participants in the industry, and provisions regarding quota allocation and conduct of the fishery are determined through annual regulations for each individual type of fish (control regulations).
The ICES has classified the North East Arctic haddock stock as having a high reproductive capacity and a sustainable utilisation. According to the ICES, the stock in the North Sea and in Skagerrak is in good condition and is sustainably harvested. The haddock fishery north of 62º N has the following certifications:
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
– MSC’s fishery certification programme and environmental label for seafood certifies and rewards sustainable fishing.
– The KRAV label is Sweden's best known environmental label for food, based on an organic basis with particularly high requirements for animal welfare, health, social responsibility and environmental impact.
Food safety/quality control
The Norwegian seafood industry is subject to stringent requirements in order to ensure food safety. The system consists of several bodies which jointly monitor compliance with the requirements in all stages of the production chain. The bodies which supervise food are the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
Haddock is a lean fish which is rich in:
- Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body.
- Vitamin B12, which is important for the body's production of new cells, including red blood cells, and which can contribute to preventing anaemia.
- Selenium, an important element in the enzymes that combat harmful chemical processes in the body.
- Iodine, which regulates the body's metabolism and is important for normal growth and development of the nervous system.
Haddock has a firm consistency and a white colour to the flesh. The flesh is quite coarse and granular with a good bonding ability which makes it well suited for processed fish such as fish cakes. Haddock can also be fried, smoked, dried and boiled.