IGP Icelandic haddock
Certified as sustainable in April 2012.
Species: Haddock (melangrammus aeglefinus)
Location: Icelandic Exclusive Economic Zone (200nm) within ICES V / FAO area 27
Fishing methods: Demersal otter trawl, Danish seine, long line, hand line and gill net.
Number of fisheries: 1
More about haddock
Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is found throughout the temperate–sub-Arctic waters of the North Atlantic from the Gulf of Maine on the east coast of North America across the southernmost part of Greenland, Iceland, Barents Sea, Norwegian Sea, Baltic and southwards around the British Isles to the Bay of Biscay. Although it is a single species throughout this distribution, it comprises numerous populations that show a varying degree of intermixing. The haddock around Iceland are more or less isolated from neighbouring haddock stocks by the deep water of the Denmark Strait to the west, the Faroe–Iceland channel to the south-east and the Norwegian Sea in the east. Haddock are found throughout Icelandic waters, but mostly along the south and west coasts at depths less than 200 m . The most important spawning grounds are off the south and south-western coast during April–May. From there, eggs and larvae drift clockwise, north then east with prevailing currents until they complete metamorphosis and settle in nursery areas in shallow coastal waters. Throughout its life, haddock is primarily a benthic feeders (worms and small molluscs) but as it grows it will also feed on small fish, particularly sandeels and capelin if they are abundant. With this preference for benthic species, haddock is more generally associated with sedimentary substrata than the hard bottoms favoured by cod (Gadus morhua). In terms of weight of fish landed in Iceland, haddock is the second most important demersal species.
More about the fishing methods
The Icelandic demersal fishing fleet comprises factory freezer trawlers, fresh-fish trawlers, Danish (Scottish fly) seiners, inshore and offshore longliners, gillnetters (including tangle net), auto-jigger and handliners – plus licensed recreational charter vessels that must have quota to meet their clients’ catches. The fleet employs some of the most sophisticated technology available for navigational and fish detection as well as the development of more effective fishing gear.
All demersal trawlers work as single-boat trawlers, i.e. there is no pair trawling. The majority of vessels land their fish gutted, on ice. The factory freezer trawlers fillet the fish at sea but only the guts are discarded; heads and carcasses are frozen for export, as are the fillets. There is one vessel currently working a semi-pelagic (bottom skimming) rig to assess its suitability for cod fishing. The remainder use more traditional rigging but with a variety of doors, bridles and sweep arrangement, chosen by the skipper.
The Icelandic longline fleet still tends to favour traditional J–hooks rather than circle hooks. The line is shot (5–10 h) and once shot, the vessel immediately returns to the initial shoot position and begins hauling the same line. Thus, any fish caught is taken aboard less than 24 h after fishing commenced.
The Danish seine is a much lighter construction than the trawls favoured by Icelandic skippers and is only used on relatively flat sand or mud seabed without significant obstructions. Minimum mesh size varies between 135 and 155 mm, depending on the area being fished. The gear is shot away and once fully deployed is immediately hauled back to the boat. Icelandic fishermen use this fly-fishing technique thereby eliminating any risk of anchor-related environmental damage.
Haddock form a minor bycatch (< 1000 t) in a directed cod fishery carried out exclusively with bottom-set gillnets.
Haddock contributes < 0.5% the total catch of this sector of the fleet. At the time of writing, one demersal trawler rigged with a semi-pelagic (bottom-skimming) trawl is being fished to assess its cod-catching performance and (reduced) fuel consumption.
Handline and auto-jiggers
These are basically the same method but, as the names imply, one is manual and the other automated. Both are characteristically small-boat (<10 m) methods used in coastal and shelf waters.
Small mesh trawlers
The small-mesh’ category includes vessels targeting nephrops andnorthern shrimp (Pandalus borealis). The construction of the trawl net and the associated ground gear are significantly lighter than the trawls typically used when targeting demersal fish species.
Purse seines are used exclusively for the capture of pelagic species, principally herring and capelin.
82,045 tonnes in 2009.
The export market for Icelandic haddock is dominated by the UK which takes about 65% of production. The rest is exported to a number of countries (France, Germany, Nigeria, Belgium, Netherlands and others) at low volumes.
Actual eligibility date
1 March 2011