Blue whiting

The blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, one of the two species in the genus Micromesistius in the cod family, is common in the northeast Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Iceland and Spitsbergen. It also occurs in the northern parts of the Mediterranean, where it may be locally abundant.[1] Blue whiting also occur in the northwest Atlantic Ocean between Canada and Greenland, but is considered rare. It has a long, narrow body and a silvery underbody. The fish can attain a length of more than 40 cm. The average length of blue whiting caught off the west shores of the UK is 31 cm.[2]

A related species, southern blue whiting, Micromesistius australis, occurs in the Southern Hemisphere.

Blue whiting
Micromesistius poutassou Gervais
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gadiformes
Family: Gadidae
Genus: Micromesistius
M. poutassou
Binomial name
Micromesistius poutassou
(A. Risso, 1827)
Micromesistius poutassou mapa
Range of blue whiting
  • Merlangus poutassou Risso, 1827
  • Boreogadus poutassou (Risso, 1827)
  • Gadus poutassou (Risso, 1827)
  • Merlangus vernalis Risso, 1827
  • Merlangus pertusus Cocco, 1829
  • Merlangus albus Yarrell, 1841
  • Merlangus communis Costa, 1844
  • Gadus melanostomus Nilsson, 1855


Exploitation of blue whiting only started in the 1970s. The species, in the last decades, has become increasingly important to the fishing industries of northern European countries, including Russia. Catches exceeded 1 million tonnes from 1998 to 2008.[3] According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, blue whiting was fifth most important capture fish species in 2006.[4] However, recruitment of the stock fell to a low level in 2006 and has been weak ever since, causing declining spawning stock and eventually triggering strong reductions in catch quotas. The reasons for low recruitment in recent years are poorly known.[3][5] The total quota for 2011 was set to 40,100 tonnes,[6] which is less than 2% of the record catch of 2.4 million tonnes in 2004. Catches in 2011 exceeded the quota by more than 100%.[7]

For 2012, ICES advises the catches should be no more than 391,000 tonnes.[8] This large increase relative to the quota in 2011 (but not to the catches in 1998–2008) is caused by a revision in the stock assessment; however, recruitment to the stock is still low and the stock is forecasted to decline. The coastal states set the total quota for 2012 to 391,000 tonnes.[9]

The fish is usually not marketed fresh, but processed into fish meal and oil. However, in Russia and in southern Europe, blue whiting are sometimes sold as food fish.


Faroe stamp 423 blue whiting
Blue whiting on a Faroese stamp

Blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic is a straddling stock: it occupies the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland and Norway, as well as the high seas".[10] This means effective regulation calls for international co-operation.

Quota advice for blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic is provided by ICES. For a long period, blue whiting fisheries were mainly regulated through nationally set quotas because there was no international agreement about sharing the total quota.;[11] consequently, the total catch greatly exceeded the advised quotas[3] However, the Coastal States (the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland and Norway) reached an agreement in December 2005,[12] ending the period of what was sometimes referred to as "Olympic fishing". Since 2006, the blue whiting fishery has been regulated under this agreement, which gives the greatest share to the European Union, but through quota swaps, Norway has been holding the largest annual quotas.

Blue whiting (bacaladilla)
Blue whiting sold for human consumption in Spain


  1. ^ Bailey, R. S. (1982). "The population biology of blue whiting in the North Atlantic". Advances in Marine Biology. 19: 257–355.
  2. ^ Handling and Processing Blue Whiting
  3. ^ a b c ICES Advice 2010: Blue whiting in Subareas I–IX, XII, and XIV (Combined stock) Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008
  5. ^ Payne, M. R.; Egan, A.; Fässler, S. M. M.; Hátún, H. L.; Holst, J. C.; Jacobsen, J. A.; Slotte, A.; Loeng, H. (2012). "The rise and fall of the NE Atlantic blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou)". Marine Biology Research. 8 (5–6): 475–487. doi:10.1080/17451000.2011.639778.
  6. ^ Agreed Record of Conclusions of Fisheries Consultations between the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland and Norway on the Management of Blue Whiting in the North-East Atlantic in 2011
  7. ^ Final Catch figures Blue whiting 2011
  8. ^ ICES Advice September 2011. Blue whiting in Subareas I–IX, XII, and XIV (Combined stock) Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Agreed Record of Conclusions of Fisheries Consultations Between Iceland, the European Union, the Faroe Islands and Norway on the Management of Blue Whiting in the North-East Atlantic in 2012
  10. ^ "Straddling stocks". Archived from the original on 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2011-08-20.
  11. ^ Standal, D. (2006). "The rise and decline of blue whiting fisheries—capacity expansion and future regulations". Marine Policy. 30: 315–327. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2005.03.007.
  12. ^ Press release: Broad agreement on fisheries between Norway and the EU

External links

Fish meal

Fish meal, or fishmeal, is a commercial product mostly made from fish that are not generally used for human consumption; a small portion is made from the bones and offal left over from processing fish used for human consumption, while the larger percentage is manufactured from wild-caught, small marine fish; either unmanaged by-catch or sometimes sustainable fish stocks. It is powder or cake obtained by drying the fish or fish trimmings, often after cooking, and then grinding it. If the fish used is a fatty fish it is first pressed to extract most of the fish oil.


The Gadidae are a family of marine fish, included in the order Gadiformes, known as the cods, codfishes, or true cods. It contains several commercially important fishes, including the cod, haddock, whiting, and pollock.

Most gadid species are found in temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere, but several range into subtropical, subarctic, and Arctic oceans, and a single (southern blue whiting) is found in the Southern Hemisphere. They are generally medium-sized fish, and are distinguished by the presence of three dorsal fins on the back and two anal fins on the underside. Most species have barbels on their chins, which they use while browsing on the sea floor. Gadids are carnivorous, feeding on smaller fish and crustaceans.Gadids are highly prolific, producing several million eggs at each spawning. This contributes to their high population numbers, which, in turn, makes commercial fishing relatively easy.Concepts differ about the contents of the family Gadidae. The system followed by FishBase includes a dozen genera. Alternatively, fishes in the current Lotidae (with burbot, cusk) and Phycidae (hakes) have also been included in the Gadidae, as its subfamilies Lotinae and Phycinae.

HB Grandi

HB Grandi hf. is a fishing and fish processing company in Iceland. HB Grandi's headquarters are in Reykjavík where its office and groundfish production are located. The company also runs fish processing plants in two other towns in Iceland, Akranes and Vopnafjörður.

The company currently operates three freezing vessels, four wetfish trawlers and three pelagic vessels and runs fish processing plants in Reykjavík, Akranes and Vopnafjörður. HB Grandi markets its products worldwide, products made from both groundfish and pelagic fish caught and processed by the company. In 2013 the company was awarded the Icelandic Presidential export award.HB Grandi is a publicly traded company on the Main Market of NASDAQ OMX Iceland, having over 2.700 shareholders.


Killybegs (Irish: Na Cealla Beaga) is a town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. It is the largest fishing port in the country and on the island of Ireland. It is located on the south coast of the county, north of Donegal Bay, near Donegal Town. The town is situated at the head of a scenic harbour and at the base of a vast mountainous tract extending northward. In the summer, there is a street festival celebrating the fish catches and incorporating the traditional "Blessing of the Boats". As of 2016, the population was 1,236.

List of commercially important fish species

See also: World fish production, Fishing industry by country, and Types of seafood

This is a list of aquatic animals that are harvested commercially in the greatest amounts, listed in order of tonnage per year (2012) by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Species listed here have an annual tonnage in excess of 1,600,000 tonnes.

This table includes mainly fish, but also listed are crabs, shrimp, squid, bivalves, and a soft shell turtle.

Note that Oreochromis niloticus and Penaeus monodon appear twice, because substantial amounts are harvested from the wild as well as being extensively raised through aquaculture.

List of common fish names

This is a list of common fish names. While some common names refer to a single species or family, others have been used for a confusing variety of types; the articles listed here should explain the possibilities if the name is ambiguous.

Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Fìne, pronounced [l̪ˠɔx ˈfiːnə]; meaning "Loch of the Vine/Wine"), is a sea loch off the Firth of Clyde and forms part of the coast of the Cowal peninsula. Located on the west coast of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It extends 65 kilometres (40 mi) inland from the Sound of Bute, making it the longest of the sea lochs. It is connected to the Sound of Jura by the Crinan Canal. Although there is no evidence that grapes have grown there, the title is probably honorific, indicating that the river, "Abhainn Fìne", was a well-respected river.

In the north the terrain is mountainous, with the Arrochar Alps, Beinn Bhuidhe, Glen Shira, Glen Fyne, Glen Croe, Arrochar, Tyndrum and Loch Lomond nearby.

It is overlooked by the Tinkers' Heart, an old travelers' monument.Loch Fyne is a popular area for sport diving and fishing. It is also a popular tourist destination with attractions such as Inveraray Castle and the nearby ruins of Castle MacEwen and Old Castle Lachlan.

The village of Portavadie is on the east shore of the loch. A passenger ferry traverses the loch to Tarbert from the slipway at Portavadie.

Dolphins, seals and otters inhabit the loch, and basking sharks can appear in its waters during the summer months. A Ross's gull was present at the loch in early 2007.

M. australis

M. australis may refer to:

Malacosteus australis, the Southern stoplight loosejaw, a small, deep-sea dragonfish species

Marsdenia australis, the bush banana, silky pear or green vine, a plant species native to Australia

Megascolides australis, the giant gippsland earthworm, an earthworm species native to Australia

Mentha australis, the river mint, native mint, native peppermint and Australian mint, a mint species native of eastern Australia

Microcavia australis, the Southern mountain cavy, a rodent species found in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile

Micromesistius australis, the southern blue whiting, a cod species found in the southern oceans

Mirandia australis, a jumping spider species found in Paraguay

Morus australis, the Chinese mulberry, a flowering plant species found in South-East Asia

Myliobatis australis, the Australian bull ray or southern eagle ray, a large ray species of temperate waters of Australia

Myrsine australis, the red matipo or mapou, a shrub species endemic to New Zealand

Merluccius australis

Merluccius australis, the Southern hake, is a species of fish from the family Merlucciidae, the true hakes. It is found in the southern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with two disjunct populations, one around southern South America and the other in the waters around New Zealand.

Merluccius merluccius

Merluccius merluccius, the European hake, is a merluccid hake of the genus Merluccius. Other vernacular names include Cornish salmon and herring hake. It is a predatory species which was often netted alongside one of its favoured prey, the Atlantic herring, thus the latter common name. It is found in the eastern Atlantic from the Norway and Iceland south to Mauritania and into the Mediterranean Sea. It is an important species in European fisheries and is heavily exploited with some populations thought to be being fished unsustainably.


Micromesistius, the blue whitings, is a genus of cods.

Norwegian Sea

The Norwegian Sea (Norwegian: Norskehavet) is a marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean, northwest of Norway between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea, adjoining the Barents Sea to the northeast. In the southwest, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a submarine ridge running between Iceland and the Faroe Islands. To the north, the Jan Mayen Ridge separates it from the Greenland Sea.

Unlike many other seas, most of the bottom of the Norwegian Sea is not part of a continental shelf and therefore lies at a great depth of about two kilometres on average. Rich deposits of oil and natural gas are found under the sea bottom and are being explored commercially, in the areas with sea depths of up to about one kilometre. The coastal zones are rich in fish that visit the Norwegian Sea from the North Atlantic or from the Barents Sea (cod) for spawning. The warm North Atlantic Current ensures relatively stable and high water temperatures, so that unlike the Arctic seas, the Norwegian Sea is ice-free throughout the year. Recent research has concluded that the large volume of water in the Norwegian Sea with its large heat absorption capacity is more important as a source of Norway's mild winters than the Gulf Stream and its extensions.

Paprykarz szczeciński

Paprykarz szczeciński (Polish pronunciation: [paˈprɨkaʂ ʂt͡ʂɛˈt͡ɕiɲskʲi]) is a Polish canned fish spread made from ground fish, rice, tomato paste and vegetable oil, seasoned with onion, salt and spices. It has the form of a reddish-brown paste with visible rice grains. The recipe, inspired by a West African dish sampled by Polish fishermen, was developed in the 1960s at PPDiUR Gryf, a state-owned far-sea fishing and fish processing company based in the Polish port city of Szczecin. Since the company's bankruptcy in the early 1990s, paprykarz szczeciński has been produced by other fish processing plants in various locations throughout Poland. A popular snack, especially with students and hikers, it remains a symbol of Szczecin's local identity.

Quota Management System

The Quota Management System (QMS) is a type of individual fishing quota that is used in New Zealand to manage fish stocks.

Small-scale whiting

The small-scale whiting (Sillago parvisquamis) (also known as the blue whiting), is a species of inshore marine fish of the smelt-whiting family Sillaginidae. The small-scale whiting is very similar in body shape and colour to other species in the genus Sillago, but is distinguished by having 12 or 13 spines in the first dorsal fin compared to 11 in all other species. The species is distributed through parts of the west Pacific Ocean including Japan, Taiwan, Korea and India, inhabiting the tidal flats of major estuaries. It is a benthic predator taking crustaceans, molluscs and annelids. Spawning in the species takes place from May to September, with peaks identified in June and July. The eggs and larvae have been extensively studied in order to distinguish them from the more abundant Sillago sihama. Minor fisheries exist for the small-scale whiting, although it is thought be endangered by habitat loss and pollution, but has not been recognised as such by the IUCN.

Southern blue whiting

The southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis) is a codfish of the genus Micromesistius, found in the southern oceans with temperatures between 3 and 7 °C, at depths of 50 to 900 m. Its length is commonly between 30 and 60 cm, with a maximum length of 90 cm. Maximum weight is at least 1350 g.

A related species, the blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, occurs in the Northern Hemisphere.

In Canada, according to Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulations and the list of acceptable fish species names, "Micromesistius australis" (or southern blue whiting) can also be referred to as blue cod. This well-known species is part of the family Gadidae and is a very versatile fish. It is most commonly filleted and served breaded or battered, but it is also well-suited to pan frying, oven baking and steaming. It has flaky white fillets and mild flavor with broad appeal to children and adults alike.

The two disjunct populations are:

M. a. australis occurs around the Falkland Islands and Argentine Patagonia in the southwest Atlantic, off Chile in the southeast Pacific, and off South Georgia, South Shetland and South Orkney Islands.

M. a. pallidus occurs around the South Island of New Zealand. Some evidence indicates southern blue whiting in this area may actually comprise multiple stocks.Most of the southern blue whiting catch comes from New Zealand's Bounty Platform and Campbell Island Rise given the large numbers there. They are harvested mainly by mid-water and semi-pelagic trawl.New Zealand southern blue whiting were the first blue whiting fisheries in the world to gain Marine Stewardship Council certification, the ‘gold standard’ for sustainable fisheries performance.

Tróndur í Gøtu (2010 ship)

Tróndur í Gøtu is a Faroese a fishing trawler and purse seiner. It belongs to the Faroese company called Varðin, based in Syðrugøta. Tróndur í Gøtu is active in the pelagic fishing industry and fishes mainly mackerel, herring, capelin and blue whiting in the sea around the Faroe Islands and else where, depending on where the Faroe Islands gets fishing quotas. The ship was built in 2010 on Karstensens Skibsværft A/S in Skagen, Denmark. Tróndur í Gøtu lands most of its catches to the pelagic fish factory Varðin Pelagic in Tvøroyri and to Havsbrún in Fuglafjørður.

Whiting (fish)

A number of Actinopterygiian fish have been given the common name whiting.

Wildlife of Iceland

The wildlife of Iceland is the wild plant and animal life found on the island of Iceland, located in the north Atlantic Ocean just south of the Arctic Circle. The flora and fauna is limited by the geography and climate of the island. The habitats on the island include high mountains, lava fields, tundras, rivers, lakes and a coastal plain of varying width. There is a long coastline, much dissected by fjords, especially in the west, north and east, with many offshore islets.

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