Latin name

Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Other names

Haddie, scrod; French: eglefin; Italian: asinello; Norwegian: kolje; Portuguese: arinca, bacalhau; Spanish: eglefino


Haddock has three dorsal fins and two anal fins. The first dorsal fin is high and pointed. The small chin fin is sometimes hidden. The coloration is purplish-gray on the back and sides, transitioning to pinkish highlights and a white belly. There is a black lateral line along the side and a black spot on the shoulder. The dark lateral line and shoulder blotch distinguish it from its close relatives in the cod family. Three dorsal fins distinguish haddock from its relative, the silver hake. The upper jaw is protruding forward, the chin bar is poorly developed, and the mouth is small. Both jaws and the head of the codfish have small, sharp, curved teeth.


In North America, haddock can be found from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia south to southern New Jersey. Occasionally, it is found in deep water as far as Cape Hatteras. The greatest concentrations are found in the northern and eastern portions of Georges Bank and in the southwestern Gulf of Maine. Two stocks are found in U.S. waters: the Gulf of Maine stock and the Georges Bank stock.


Deeper than cod, they live in depths of 25 to 75 fathoms. Generally, a cold-water species, preferring temperatures from 36° to 50° F, they are often found in warm water above the bottom of sand, pebbles, or broken shells. Keeps both near the bottom and in the water column.


The average haddock is 1 to 2 feet long and weighs 1 to 5 pounds. The record weight of haddock for all tackle is 11 pounds, 3 ounces, reported to be 161⁄2 pounds. The haddock usually lives 14 years. The age limit is 24 years. Because of the accelerated growth rate in the latter period, haddock have begun to mature at an earlier age. The increased growth rate and early maturation of haddock has resulted in a shorter life cycle and rejuvenated populations. Female haddocks are larger than males and have a higher average weight than males of the same generation. Males become sexually mature earlier than females and have a shorter life expectancy.

Life history and Behavior

The spawning season lasts from January through June, with peak activity in late March and early April, when large aggregations form at depths of 20 to 100 fathoms. Major spawning aggregations are observed on eastern Georges Bank, with some spawning occurring east of the Nantucket Shoals and along the Maine coast. Haddock swim in large flocks, and there is some seasonal migration north in the spring and south in the fall. Adult haddock on Georges Bank are relatively sedentary, but seasonal coastal movements occur in the western Gulf of Maine. Extensive migrations are observed in the Barents Sea and off the coast of Iceland.

Food and feeding habits

It feeds on bottom invertebrates - echinoderms, mollusks, worms, crustaceans, and fish - capelin and its spawn, sand lance, shining anchovy, young merlin, perch, flounder.


Spawning takes place in portions.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Gadiformes
Family Gadidae
Genus Melanogrammus
Species M. aeglefinus
Conservation status Vulnerable
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 24
Maximum body weight, kg 16.8
Maximum length, cm 112
Sailing speed, m/s 27.8
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Bentophage

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