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Atlantic Haddock

Updated on January 4, 2013

Atlantic Haddock Information

This page has information, pictures, links and news related to Atlantic haddock, a popular fish of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Haddock are a mild white fish, similar in appearance and taste to Atlantic cod. They are one of the best tasting of all saltwater fish.

These attractive fish are recognized by their distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a "thumbprint", the "Devil's thumbprint" or "St. Peter's mark".

In the USA, Gulf of Maine Atlantic haddock populations were declared rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011.

atlantic haddock
atlantic haddock

Atlantic Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

The Atlantic haddock is a member of the cod family, but it is smaller than the Atlantic cod, generally weighing 2-5 pounds.

Haddock are easily recognized by a black lateral line running along its white side and a distinctive dark blotch above the pectoral fin, often described as a "thumbprint", the "Devil's thumbprint" or "St. Peter's mark".

Haddock are found from the Western North Atlantic from Labrador to Cape Charles, Virginia, the Eastern North Atlantic from Bay of Biscay to Spitzbergen; Barents Sea; around Iceland and southern tip of Greenland. Two major North American stocks thrive on Georges Bank and in the southwestern Gulf of Maine.

Haddock is a mild white fish known for its excellent table quality. Haddock is a great source of low-fat protein and is high in magnesium and selenium. Haddock fillets are white, mild and very similar to Atlantic cod.

Haddock is sold fresh, smoked, frozen, dried, or to a small extent canned. Haddock, along with cod and plaice, is one of the most popular fish used in British fish and chips. Fish and chips (sometimes written "fish 'n' chips") originated in the United Kingdom consists of battered, deep-fried fish sliced, deep-fried potatoes.

Small fresh haddock and cod fillets are often sold as scrod in New England The term refers to the size of the fish which have a variety of sizes, i.e. scrod, markets, and cows.

Haddock may be prepared in the same manner as other members of the cod family, keeping in mind that it has a more delicate texture than cod. It is lean and white like cod and produces large flakes once cooked. Popular cooking methods include poaching, baking, steaming and broiling. Haddock is also very popular smoked in Europe and Scandinavia where it is marketed as finnan haddie.

Commercial Fishing for Atlantic Haddock

Atlantic haddock stocks have been plentiful in recent years. Both major haddock stocks within U.S. waters (Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine), are considered "recovered" by regulators.

Both major stocks of haddock in U.S. waters support year-round commercial fisheries. These stocks are managed as part of the Northeast Multispecies fishery, a complex of 15 groundfish species, by the New England Fishery Management Council under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP).

The Canada-USA Steering Committee is the oversight body that guides transboundary management issues in the Gulf of Maine. This informal advisory group coordinates bilateral stock assessments and a sharing scheme for transboundary groundfish resources through the actions of the Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC) and the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC). The Steering Committee supervises additional cooperative transboundary initiatives in the Gulf of Maine via the Canada-USA Integration Committee.

The Steering Committee is co-chaired by the Director-General for the Maritime Region, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Northeast Regional Administrator of the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Committee members also include representatives of the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC), Canada's Gulf of Maine Advisory Committee (GOMAC), and Canadian and US fishing industries. One of the first tasks undertaken by the groundfish TMGC was the development of a resource-sharing formula for allocating eastern Georges Bank cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder stocks between the USA and Canada.

Atlantic Haddock Tagging Programs

With grant support from the Northeast Consortium, CCCHFA has carefully developed a tagging program for Atlantic haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). Northeast Consortium Cooperative Haddock Tagging will pool the resources of CCCHFA, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center, 20 benthic longline vessels and 15 fishermen trained and acting as tagging technicians. CCCHFA will be the central coordinating body, while GMRI will use the infrastructure developed for the Northeast Regional Cod Tagging Program to manage tag deployment and return data, tag returns and reward distribution.

Haddock Recipes

This collection includes recipes for haddock chowder as well as baked or broiled haddock.

Haddock Chowder

2 lbs. haddock

2 potatoes peeled cut into 3/4 inch cubes

1 small onion, sliced

6 strips bacon or salt pork

3 Tbsp. butter

2 cups scalded milk

salt and pepper to taste


Remove skin and fillets and cut off head and tail. Cut fish into 2 inch pieces and set aside.

Put head, tail, and backbone pieces into a stew pan, add 2 cups of cold water and bring slowly to boiling point; cook 5 minutes.

Cut bacon or salt pork into small pieces and fry out, add onion and fry 5 minutes. Strain fat into a large pan, add potatoes to fat, then add 2 cups boiling water and cook 5 minutes.

Add liquor drained from the bones, add fish, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Add milk, salt, pepper, and butter.

To thicken, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 2 tablespoons flour, blending well. Gradually add 2 cups scalded milk.

Serve steaming hot with crackers.

Broiled Haddock Parmesan

2 pounds haddock fillets

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

3 green onions, chopped

thinly sliced lemon and parsley for garnish, optional

Place fillets in a single layer on a greased baking dish or broiler pan; brush with lemon juice.

Combine Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, salt, butter, and green onions in a small bowl; set aside.

Broil flounder fillets 4 to 6 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven; spread with cheese mixture.

Broil about 30 seconds longer, or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

Garnish with sliced lemon and parsley if desired.

Serves 6 to 8.

German Style Haddock and Potato Pie

2 lb haddock fillets


3-4 tbsp butter

2 onions; chopped

2 lb potatoes; boiled and sliced

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

salt, pepper and mace to taste

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Clean haddock and cut into fork-sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt and refrigerate 1/2 hr. Rinse and dry.

Preheat oven to 350. In a skillet melt butter; when bubbling saute onion til browned.

Butter a casserole dish. In alternate layers add potatoes, fish and onions. Continue building layers ending with potato.

Beat eggs and fold them into the sour cream. Season with pepper, mace, salt and pour over the potatoes.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and additional butter. Bake 30-40 minutes; until top is brown.

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