| ||Merlangus vernalis Risso, 1826|
| ||Merlangus pertusis Cocco, 1829|
| ||Gadus potassoa Düben & Koren, 1846|
| ||Gadus melanostomus Nilsson, 1855|
| ||Boreogadus poutassou Maim, 1877|
| ||Gadus poutassou Moreau, 1881|
|En - Blue whiting(=Poutassou), Fr - Merlan bleu, Sp - Bacaladilla.|
3Alpha Code: WHB Taxonomic Code: 1480403301|
|Scientific Name with Original Description|
|Merlangus poutassou Risso, 1826, Hist.Nat.Eur.Merid., 2:277.|
|Total gill rakers on first arch 26 to 34.
Colour: blue-grey on the back, paler on the sides, shading to white on the belly. Sometimes a small dark blotch at base of pectoral fin.
|North Atlantic from the Barents Sea south through the eastern Norwegian Sea, around Iceland, through the eastern Atlantic, in the western Mediterranean, and south along the African coast to Cape Bojador. Also taken around southern Greenland and occasionally off southeast Canada and the northeastern coast of the USA.|
|Habitat and Biology|
|Oceanic and benthopelagic over the continental slope and shelffrom 150 to more than 1000 m, but more common at 300-400 m.Migrates in summer, after spawning, to the North (Faeroes, E. Iceland and Norway) and back to the spawning areas in January-February. Also makes daily vertical migrations: surface waters at night and near the bottom during the day. Reaches its first maturity at 3 years of age. Sex ratio varies geographically: 35% males - 65 females in Iceland; 46% males - 54% females in the Faeroes; 41% males - 59 females in W. Scotland; 42% males - 58% females in the Tuscan archipelago.Reaches its first maturity at 3 years of age. Sex ratio varies geographically: 35% males - 65 females in Iceland; 46% males - 54% females in the Faeroes; 41% males - 59 females in W. Scotland; 42% males - 58% females in the Tuscan archipelago.|
From February to June, 6 000 to 150 000 eggs are laid, the major spawning grounds being the western.
UK Islands, but also off Portugal, Bay of Biscay, Faeroes, Norway and Iceland, above the continental shelf. Growth is fast: 1 year = 16 cm; 5 years = 27 to 29 cm; 10 years = 29 to 34 cm. Females are usually larger than males. Maximum age is 20 years (45 cm).Feeds mostly on small crustaceans, but large individuals also prey on small fish and cephalopods.
|Reaching 50 cm total length; common from 15 to 30 cm.|
|Interest to Fisheries|
|Global Capture production for|
(FAO Fishery Statistic)
The catch reported in the FAO Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics for 1996 was 631 120 t, of which ca. 611 420 t were taken in the northeastern Atlantic (Norway: ca. 356 054 t, Rusia Fed: ca. 87 3100 t, Denmark: ca. 52 699 t, Spain. ca. 36 000 t, Faeroe Islands: ca. 20 094 t, Netherlands: ca. 16 407 t, UK: ca. 14 326 t and others), and 18 613 t in the Mediterranean (Turkey: ca. 11 518 t, Spain: ca. 4 300 t, Italy: ca. 1 546 t, and others). It is suggested that a stock of several million tons of blue whiting exists in the northeastern Atlantic west of UK, and that the species could sustain an annual yield of over 1 000 000 t (Buzeta & Nakken, 1974, Forbes, 1974). The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 323 167 t. The countries with the largest catches were Norway (534 196 t) and Russian Federation (182 637 t). The Blue whiting is caught mainly with trawls, longlines, trammel nets, gillnets, seines, lamparas and handlines, mostly beyond the edge of the continental shelf.
It is marketed fresh and frozen, but a large part of the catch is processed industrially as oil and fishmeal, due to difficulties encountered in the conservation of the flesh, and to the high demand for fishmeal in the eastern European countries. However, considerable research is being conducted, especially in the UK, on new conservation technologies (fish blocks).
| Related Fishing Techniques|
Ferkh el bajij .|
Gros poutassou ,
Merlan bleu ,
Merlan cle Paris ,
Blauer Wittling .|
Blawe wijting .|
Kolmule blagunnar .|
Nazalli azraq .|
Buzeta & Nakken, (1974)