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Northeast Arctic Haddock

The Northeast Arctic haddock stock is currently in good condition and sustainably harvested. However, the stock has declined by more than half since the historic high of 1.3 million tonnes in 2010. Since 1950, the stock has shown large fluctuations in abundance, related to very strong fluctuations in recruitment.

Peak levels were seen in the mid-1950s, early-1970s, and the 1990s, whereas the historic low was in the mid 1980s, when the stock declined to 72 thousand tonnes.
The year classes of 2004, 2005 and 2006 has been the strongest ever recorded. When these year classes recruited into fishery, their biomass were 4–6 times larger than average (1950–2003). These year classes built the stock to the historic high biomass level in 2010. 
The factors determining year class strength and recruitment in haddock are not fully understood. High temperature appears to be a necessary condition for strong recruitment. However, the year classes after 2006 has been modest despite high temperatures and a very large spawning stock. This has led to the current decline in the stock. The year classes 2015–2017 appear to be promising. If a large proportion of these year classes survive, the stock decline observed since 2014/2015 will be reversed.
Northeast Arctic haddock stock is now the largest haddock stock in the world, and since the mid 2000s, about 2/3 of the global catch of this species has been from the Barents Sea stock.


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.