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Coley, Saithe

Pollachius virens

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - North Sea, Skagerrak, West of Scotland and Rockall
Stock detail - IV, IIIa, VI
Certification - Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Fish type - White round fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is a good sustainable fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find similar fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

The Norwegian and German fisheries for North Sea coley are assessed as environmentally responsible fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Increase the sustainability of the fish you eat from this area by choosing MSC Certified fish. Avoid eating immature saithe below about 60 cms and during its breeding time, January to March.

Biology

Coley or saithe belongs to the same family as cod and haddock. Coley usually enters coastal waters in spring and returns to deeper water in winter. They spawn from January to March at about 200m depth along the northern shelf edge and the western edge of the Norwegian deeps. Saithe can grow up to 130cm. It is a long-lived species and can reach ages of more than 25 years. They become sexually mature when 5-10 years old and 60-70cm long.

Stock information

Stock area
North Sea, Skagerrak, West of Scotland and Rockall

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Stock information
Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) has fluctuated without trend, remaining above MSY Btrigger (200,000 t) since 1997. Recruitment has been below the long-term average since 2008 and may be related to changes in the environment. Fishing mortality (F) has been below FMSY since 2013.

ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2017 should be no more than 116,605 tonnes (68,601t in 2016;72,854t in 2015; 85,581t in 2014;100,684 t in 2013). This advice gives a large increase in TAC compared to that advised in 2016. This is caused by a combination of improved stock status and changes made to the assessment during the 2016 benchmark process.

Management

Management of North Sea saithe is shared by Norway and the EU and is managed under EU-Norway agreement. The Norwegian fishery for North Sea coley is assessed as an environmentally responsible fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The German North Sea trawl fishery is also certified as sustainable by the MSC, but it is unlikely that the product will be available to the UK market.

Capture information

Coley in the North Sea are mainly taken in a direct or targeted benthopelagic trawl (87%) fishery along the edge of the continental shelf that generates little bycatch and few discards. Discards may occur on vessels which do not have a quota for saithe. During the first half of the year the fishery is directed towards mature fish, while immature fish may dominate catches in the second half of the year. However importance of the fisheries on spawning aggregations in the first quarter of the year has declined. Total catch in 2015 was 81945 t of which 6% (5010 t) was discards (2013 was 89.3 kt. Discards were estimated at 9% for the EU fleet). The minimum landing size for saithe in EU waters is 35cm (32cm in Skagerrak/Kattegat). The approximate size at which 50% of females first spawn is however around 50cm.

Read more about capture methods

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Bass, seabass (Farmed) Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Bream, Gilthead (Farmed) Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Cod, Atlantic Cod Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Coley, Saithe Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Haddock Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Hake, Cape

Hake, European Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola

Pollock, Alaska, Walleye Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Pouting or Bib Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Sturgeon (Farmed) Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Tilapia

Whiting Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.


References
ICES Advice 2016, Book 6 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/sai-3a46.pdf

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