Melanogrammus aeglefinus 

Scope: Europe
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Gadiformes Gadidae

Scientific Name: Melanogrammus aeglefinus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Haddock
French Aiglefin, Âne, Anon, Bourricot, Calever, Eglefin, Églefin, Habillot, Saint-pierre
Spanish Eglefino

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2013-10-16
Assessor(s): Cook, R., Fernandes, P., Florin, A., Lorance, P. & Nedreaas, K.
Reviewer(s): Needle, C. & Kempf, A.
Contributor(s): Stump, E.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Carpenter, K.E.
European Regional Assessment: LC

Melanogrammus aeglefinus is restricted to the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters of the Arctic Ocean. Melanogrammus aeglefinus principally occurs at depths of up to 600 metres, but is more abundant at depths between 40 and 300 metres. It is a commercially important species which is harvested throughout its range. Trends in the population were evaluated against Criterion A over a 3-generation timeframe of 10-15 years using Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) estimates, which were available for 7 stocks. Summed SSB fluctuates around a relatively stable mean over the last 10 to 15 years, a time period which likely approximates three generation lengths given the variability in age at first maturity in this species. Therefore, M. aeglefinus is listed as Least Concern. This species is managed to varying degrees throughout its range within the European Assessment Zone. This species is managed to varying degrees throughout its range within the European Assessment Zone.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Melanogrammus aeglefinus is restricted to the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters of the Arctic Ocean. In the western North Atlantic, this species is distributed from the Greenland south to Cape May, New Jersey. In the northeastern Atlantic, it is distributed from Svalbard and Barents Sea south to the Bay of Biscay. Melanogrammus aeglefinus principally occurs at depths of up to 600 metres, but is more abundant at depths between 40 and 300 metres (Hedger et al. 2004). 

Haddock is extending its range northward due to a recent period of increased influx of warm Atlantic seawater to the western coast of Svalbard (Renaud et al. 2011, Cardinale et al. 2012).
MRN, ZMO and SRF records show this species as being found along western and northern Norway, east to Novaya Zemlya (Cohen et al. 1990).
Countries occurrence:
Belgium; Denmark; Estonia; Faroe Islands; Finland; France (France (mainland)); Germany; Guernsey; Iceland; Ireland; Jersey; Latvia; Lithuania; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Russian Federation (European Russia); Spain; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Sweden; United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland)
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – northeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):600
Upper depth limit (metres):40
Range Map:13045-1

Population [top]


Population structure
Despite its commercial importance, relatively limited information is available on the genetic population structure of this species, and it is likely that management units are misaligned with genetic partitions (Reisse et al. 2009). Studies from the Northwest Atlantic using micro-satellite markers have revealed population differentiation between banks (Nantucket Shoals, Grand Banks). The latest ICES benchmark meeting (ICES WKHAD 2014) concluded that the North Sea population and the west of Scotland population are closely linked. In the latest assessment both stocks were merged into a Northern shelf haddock stock (ICES WKHAD 2014). This species is shifting its range northwards due to warming temperatures (Renaud et al. 2012). 

FAO landing statistics summary
The overall trend in Global FAO landings, from 1950 to 2011, is one of continual increase with major fluctuations to a peak of 961958 tonnes in 1972. Following this peak, landings decrease to a series low of 190719 tonnes in 1994 (80% decrease) From 1994 to 2011, landings gradually increase to 429599 tonnes in 2011 (56% increase) - the highest since the early 1980s. Landings are reported from the following FAO fishing regions: Northeast Atlantic, Northwest Atlantic, and Arctic. The trend is largely driven by landings in the Northeast Atlantic, which account for 70 to 95% of declared landings throughout the time series. The trend in the Northeast Atlantic mirrors the overall trend in declared landings.

Regional trends in Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB)
Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) estimates were available for 7 stocks in the European region (North Sea, Western Scotland (as of 2014 these have been combined into a single North Shelf Stock), Celtic, Arctic, Faroe Plateau, Iceland, and Rockall). Additional stocks include the Irish Sea Haddock and Faroe Bank Haddock, however there are no catch-at-age based assessments for these stocks as of 2014. Estimates of Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) across the stocks were variable. Overall, there was no evidence of decline in SSB for this species over the past 10-15 years (1999-2012 combined stock SSB estimates). Across the 7 stocks for which SSB estimates were available at the time of the Red List Assessment, the majority shows fluctuating or relatively stable SSB trends over the past 10-15 years. However there have been significant declines in SSB  from 2004-2014 in Faroe Plateau - West of Scotland and Division Vb due to reduced recruitment (ICES advice 2014). The North Shelf stock has also declined within the last 10 years.

Stock-specific information: overall trends
The dominant stocks in the Northeastern Atlantic are the North Shelf Stock and the Arctic Stock.  Trends in overall biomass have been driven by fluctuations in the North Shelf stock. Prior to 2007, the North Sea stock accounted for 40 to >80% of total biomass.

Biomass in the North Sea declined after 2007, with the lowest biomass in the time series (1963 to 2011) being recorded in 2011 (415673 tonnes), however SSB is driven to a large extent by sporadic large recruitment events. The last large recruitment was observed in 1999. Biomass of the Northeast Arctic stock has increased to 1210131 tonnes since 2007, accounting for over 50% of the total biomass (ICES DATRAS database accessed February 2014).

Haddock in Subarea IV (North Sea) and Division IIIa West (Skagerrak) - In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 40% of the total SSB for all stocks. Bcurrent>Blim; Fcurrent<Fmsy. Fishing mortality has declined since the mid-1980s, corresponding to an increase in SSB of this stock. Biomass information is available from 1963-2012. Biomass was at historical lows in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Haddock in Subareas I and II (Northeast Arctic) - In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 40% of the total SSB for all stocks. This stock is considered to be harvested sustainability, and is at full reproductive capacity. Fishing mortality has fluctuated near Fmsy since 1995 (currently, Fcurrent>Fmsy). Bcurrent>Blim. (well managed) Recruitment has been at or above average since 2000. Current SSB (373646 tonnes) is above the average SSB for the time series (141026 tonnes).
Haddock in Division Va (Icelandic Haddock): In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 7% of the total SSB for all stocks. This stock is considered to be harvested unsustainably, however Fmsy is currently undefined. Bcurrent>Blim. This species is at the northern boundary of its distribution. Current SSB (82681 tonnes) is below the average of 101127 tonnes from 1979 to 2012.
Haddock in Division VIa (West of Scotland): In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 7% of the total SSB for all stocks. This stock is considered to be harvested sustainably, however Bcurrent is barely above Blim. Current SSB (18624 tonnes) is below the average of 40634 tonnes from 1978 - 2012.

Haddock in Division VIIa (Irish Sea) -  This is considered a data-limited stock; MSY is undefined; landings have decreased from 1999 until 2012; Recruitment is variable; Relative SSB generally increased, with fluctuations until 2008, decreased in 2010, and increased again into 2012. 
Haddock in Division VIb (Rockall) - In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 1% of the total SSB for all stocks. Fcurrent<FMSY; Bcurrent near Blim - however, due to very weak recruitment the SSB of this stock is expected to decrease below Blim. Fishing mortality has declined since peaking in the late 1990s.

Haddock in Divisions VIIb-k (Celtic Sea and West of Scotland) In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 1% of the total SSB for all stocks. Fcurrent>FMSY(and has been throughout the time series of early 1990s - 2012); SSB increases continuously throughout the timeseries above MSYBtrigger, and is currently hovering around 60t tonnes. Landings have increased since 2008, however most of the increase in catch is being discarded because fish are under minimum landing size (ICES Advice 2012, book 5).

Haddock in Division VIa (West of Scotland) - In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 2% of the total SSB for all stocks.  Fcurrent<Fmsy; Bcurrent at or slightly below Blim. Recruitment is low, and this stock is at increased risk for reduced reproductive capacity. Long-term trends in SSB show declines throughout the time series and current SSB (24804 tonnes) is below the average for the time series (40634 tonnes).

Faroe Plateau ecosystem: Division Vb - In 2011, this stock accounted for approximately 1% of the total SSB for all stocks. Fcurrent>Fmsy; Bcurrent<Blim. This stock is suffering from reduced reproductive capacity, recruitment is low. The outlook for 2013 is a continued decline in  SSB. SSB is currently near historical lows (15177 tonnes) and is below the average SSB of 56001 tonnes SSB from 1957-2012.

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is found on soft bottoms at depths ranging from 10 to 600 metres (Albert 1994), however it is typically found from 10 to 200 m at temperatures between 4°C and 10°C. In the North Sea, the greatest Haddock abundances were found between 75 and 125 metres, and abundances were positively related to temperature and salinity (Hedger et al. 2004). Melanogrammus aeglefinus is a migratory species, which undertakes extensive migrations in the Barents Sea and in Iceland, with more restricted movements occurring in the Northwestern Atlantic. Females are typically found in shallow waters, while males are found offshore. The haddock is an omnivorous fish, feeding mainly on small bottom-living organisms including crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, worms and fishes. Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) and saithe (Pollachius virens) are major predators of Haddock (ICES Advice 2012). 

Maturation schedules differ between spawning cites east and west of the Greenwich meridian (Wright and Tobin 2013). 
Maturation schedules also vary by stock (Wright and Tobin 2013). In the Barents Sea the age of 50% maturity for females is 4 (Devine and Heino 2011). In the North Sea age of 50% maturity is 3 (Morgan et al. 2013). Population trends were examined over a 10-15 year period, which approximates 3 generation lengths in this species.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This is an important fisheries species. It is marketed fresh, chilled as fillets, frozen, smoked and canned. It is also processed into fish-meal and used in animal feeds. It is taken with bottom trawls, seines, longlines, gillnets, and traps (Cohen et al. 1990).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Melanogrammus aeglefinus is an important commercial fisheries species. It is mainly caught by demersal, and demersal seining. In some areas, high discards are a considerable problem for this species (ICES Advice 2012).

In addition to overexpoitation, M. aeglefinus may be impacted by environmental change/europhication and deterioration of nursing grounds in some areas (2013 HELCOM RedList Assessment).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Melanogrammus aeglefinus is managed by annual Total Allowable Catches (TACs) within specific management areas in the Northeastern Atlantic. However, it is worth noting that there are indications of mismatch between biological and fisheries management units for this species (Reiss et al. 2009). Several specific management plans are in place for Haddock: Haddock in Subarea IV (North Sea) and Division IIIa West (Skagerrak) is managed by the joint EU/Norway Management plan. Management plans are also in place for the East Arctic stock.

In 1996, this species was evaluated at the Global Level, and was assessed as Vulnerable A1d+2d. At the National level, it was evaluated as Endangered on the Swedish IUCN Red List. This species was assessed as Near Threatened in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Assessments in 2013 using Criterion B. Spawning of M. aeglefinus is restricted to the Sound, and therefore this species has very restricted area of occupancy (10 to 500km2) and extent of occurrence (<5000 km2) in the HELCOM region.

The Icelandic Haddock was evaluated as a moderate conservation concern, and is considered a "Good Alternative" by the Seafood Watch program.

Citation: Cook, R., Fernandes, P., Florin, A., Lorance, P. & Nedreaas, K. 2015. Melanogrammus aeglefinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T13045A45097487. . Downloaded on 21 November 2017.
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