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Northeast Arctic Haddock

The Northeast Arctic haddock stock is currently in good condition. Since 1950 the stock has shown large fluctuations in abundance, and the stock is now at a level similar to peak levels seen in the mid-1950s, early-1970s, and the 1990s.

Since 2000, recruitment has been at or above the long-term average, and the 2004–2006 year classes were very strong. More recent year classes approximate the long-term average. Consequently, the current abundance level of young haddock is relatively high. Prospects for the stock are optimistic given fishery management based upon agreed regulations.

A significant problem contributing to uncertainty in stock assessment is that transshipment of haddock catch ― transfer of catch from one vessel to another while at sea ― is underreported; this has been documented in recent years. Unreported removals of haddock during the years 2002–2007 were estimated to be 5–35% of reported landings, depending on estimation method and year. Another problem is that haddock discard occurs at sea, but the amount discarded goes unreported. Such unreported total catch in the haddock fishery is problematic, and one factor causing uncertainty in stock assessment.

Despite this uncertainty, major trends in stock abundance can be tracked, and management advice is based on an agreed-upon harvest control rule which maintains that total catch should not exceed 194,000 tons in 2009.

Facts about Northeast Arctic haddock

Latin name: Melanogrammus aeglefinus
Family: Gadidae
Maximum size: 110 cm/14 kg
Life span: Up to 20 years
Distribution: Along the Barents Sea coast
Main spawning area: Western edge of Tromsøflaket
Spawning season: March–June
Prey: Opportunistic feeder
Special features: Haddock are easily identified by a large dark blotch on both sides above the pectoral fin just below the lateral line.