10/25/2019

The Problem with Haddock

The ubiquitous haddock! Fried, baked, stuffed, grilled…You really can’t go wrong with haddock. And, it’s everywhere, in every store and on nearly every menu. From a fisheries perspective, haddock and New England seafood are virtually synonymous. So, what’s the problem with haddock?

The Atlantic haddock we see locally is often not locally harvested.

Massive volumes of haddock come to our port from the other side of the Atlantic: Iceland. And, it’s a great product…bountiful, responsibly harvested, good quality.  In fact, Iceland harvests six times the amount of haddock we do in New England and the fish themselves are larger, producing a bigger fillet that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in the fish case.

Meanwhile, less than 15% of our local haddock quota was harvested last year, and fishermen received an average of just $0.99/lb for it, 23% less than what they got 30 years ago. To adjust for inflation, today’s price should be $2.75/lb.

There is a vicious cycle at play here. Our local haddock doesn’t compete well with the more consistently available Icelandic product. Yet we’re not harvesting what is sustainably available, in large part because the value isn’t there for the fishermen.

We’re working hard to turn this around, offering fair prices for high quality fish and getting local haddock back on the menu. After all, there really is no problem with haddock…Just a ton of untapped opportunity.