Haddock is a North Atlantic white fish with a very distinctive black blotch—known as the “Devil’s thumbprint”—just above the pectoral fin and an easily recognizable black lateral line running down its side. This deep-sea fish, typically weighing from 2 to 7 pounds (1 to 3 kg), is prolific along the coasts of both North America and Europe.
Haddock have a purplish-grey coloured head and back that gives way to silvery grey with a pinkish tinge and a white belly. It is an elongated fish with a forked tail and three dorsal fins. It is a lean, firm white fish that is popular smoked and in fish and chips.
A highly fecund species, haddock live most of their life in deep waters between 130 and 1,000 feet (40 and 300 m). A female’s production of eggs increases substantially with age, from a few hundred thousand in the youngest spawners to three million in the oldest. Once spawning occurs, the eggs are pelagic – living on the surface of the ocean. Larvae generally float freely for around three months before descending to the bottom to live with the rest of their kind. Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking during late March and early April. The average lifespan for haddock lies somewhere between three and seven years of age, with males generally reaching maturity at four years and females at five. Haddock feed mainly on shellfish, sea urchins, worms, and small fish like sand eels and capelin. In Canada, the most important haddock stocks live from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Breton and the Grand Banks.
Bottom Longline with Hooks
This fishery uses a bottom longline that is baited with hooks and anchored to the ocean floor. A longline can be from 1 to 3 miles (1.6 to 5 km) long and have up to 2,000 hooks.
This fishery uses a large cone-shaped net that is dragged along the seafloor to catch fish. As the net is towed at low speed, hydrodynamic forces push two "otter boards" outwards opening the mouth of the net and capturing fish in its path.