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Haddock, drawing
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Haddock in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat

Haddock spawns in March-May in central areas of the North Sea. Nursery areas are coastal areas in Moray Firth, around the Orkneys and Shetland, and along the shelf at about 200 m depth from Shetland to Skagerrak. The haddock in most areas occasionally produces very strong year classes which may carry the fishery for several years, and the North Sea is no exception.

The haddock is mainly feeding on benthos (bottom-living animals) like bristle worms, mussels and serpent stars, but sandeels and herring eggs are also part of the diet. In the North Sea, the haddock becomes mature at 2-3 years of age, at a length of about 30 cm. A five-year-old haddock is 38-45 cm long. Half a century ago, haddock was abundant in the southern part of the North Sea, but presently most of the haddock are found north of a line from Newcastle to Hanstholm in Denmark.

Haddock is a demersal species found on both sides of the northern Atlantic Ocean. It has a stock structure similar to the cod, except that it does not occur in the Baltic Sea. 


Facts about haddock in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat

Latin name: Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Family: Cod family (Gadidae)
Max size: 60 cm and 4 kg
Longevity: 15 years
Distribution: North Sea/Skagerrak/Kattegat
Spawning areas: Central North Sea
Spawning time: March–May
Feed: Benthos, herring eggs and fish