Haddock by Hook and Line

Scotian Shelf / Bay of Fundy

Fish harvesters use a bottom longline to catch haddock. Baited hooks are attached to a line that is anchored to the ocean floor. Fishermen use from 10,000 to 40,000 hooks at a time. With vessels limited to 45 feet (14 m) in length, this small-boat fishery takes place inshore. 

Bottom Longline with Hooks

Bottom Longline with Hooks

The longline consists of a long rope, spooled on a hydraulic drum, which fish harvesters set from the stern of their vessels. Baited hooks are fastened to this rope using clips or swivels. The longline is set along the ocean floor where bottom-dwelling fish live. It is marked on the ocean surface using a float and flagpole at each end. Fish harvesters can set several longlines at a time and haul them regularly to land their catch. Once aboard, the hooks are baited again, if need be, and the longline is reset.

Bottom Longline with Hooks

In Atlantic Canada, many different species are caught on bottom longlines. These include halibut, haddock, cod and pollock. Each year, about 460 vessels actively participate in this small-boat fishery. In total, 2,405 vessels less than 45 feet are licensed to catch haddock. These vessels account for between 20 to 30 percent of all haddock caught in Atlantic Canada.

Conservation Measures

Fish harvesters unintentionally catch undersized and unwanted species (bycatch) and also catch cod, pollock and halibut when fishing for haddock. Eight Community-based Management Boards in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick manage this fishery to meet conservation goals. These boards consist of local fishermen and industry representatives who set rules to regulate the allocation of quota, review catches, apply sanctions against rule-breakers, develop fishing plans and implement various controls on their community fleet. Each community fishing plan must also adhere to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ conservation measures, including:

  • strict annual catch limits;
  • a limitation on the number and size of licensed fishing vessels;
  • a limitation on hook sizes;
  • restrictions on landing small fish; and
  • dockside monitoring of catch unloading.
Quality and Handling

Haddock caught by longline are individually hauled aboard, cleaned, washed and stored in a mixture of ice and seawater or slush. Fishing vessels can stay at sea for more than a week. Properly handled and chilled on ice, fresh haddock has a shelf life of 9 to 15 days.

Harvesting Area

The Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy fishing area is located off the eastern shores of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, running from the northern tip of Cape Breton to the United States-New Brunswick border. The area encompasses the Bay of Fundy, Gulf of Maine, Fundian Channel, Browns Bank, Rosemary Bank, Baccaro Bank, Le Havre Bank and Le Havre Basin. It also includes part of Georges Bank, an oval-shaped, relatively shallow bank, that lies at the southwestern end of a chain of banks stretching from Newfoundland. 


Haddock Food Info