WhitingWhiting is a white, bony fish found in the Northern Atlantic off of Europe. The Whiting has firm, low-fat flesh with few bones. It has a mild flavor and can be served fresh or salted. The Romans used Whiting for salting.
Whiting is the most commonly caught fish in Europe, containing 22% of all catches, and is exported fresh to markets throughout the world. It is popular for preparing fish sticks. The North Sea produces 68% of all Whiting in commercial fisheries; Norway produces another 30%. Current demand has stressed production
The Whiting is also known as the common whiting (Merlangius merlangus) and is a species of fish in the cod, or Gadidae, family. Though some refer to other types of fish as “Whiting” as well, they most often refer to this species.
The Whiting has firm, low-fat flesh with few bones and a mild flavor that can be served fresh or salted. In particular, the Whiting found in Ireland is known as “Dab”. When it comes to size, the Whiting can reach up to a maximum of 36 centimeters and weigh approximately 1 pound by adulthood.
The native habitats of Whiting are inshore areas of temperate waters including off Europe. The Whiting is found along the Northern Atlantic coast of Europe, most specifically in waters off Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. The Whiting is also found in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, extending as far north as Iceland and south into the Mediterranean.
The Whiting lives mostly on the sea bottom, including sandy and muddy areas and rock- and seagrass beds, at depths of up to 100 meters. It can often be found near schools of herring. The Whiting eats crustaceans, especially crabs and prawns, polychaetes, small bivalves. It feeds mainly during the day.
The Whiting is an important commercial fish species for Europe. In 2010 alone, 1.28 million tons of Whiting were caught in commercial fisheries worldwide, with North Sea production making up 68%. Norway produced another 30% of total Whiting.
Currently, demand for Whiting has stressed its population. It is considered a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List due to overfishing. The largest-selling point of Whiting is being one of the least expensive fish on the market, making it popular for preparing fish sticks.
The current management of the Whiting fishery is monitored by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). They have divided Whiting into 13 separate recruitment groups based on age structure, fishing mortality rates, and other factors.
Global whiting production
In 2015, global production of whiting was estimated at 1.38 million tonnes. The top five producers of whiting are China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Norway.
China is the leading producer of whiting, accounting for 38% of global production in 2015. Production in China has been growing steadily in recent years, reaching a peak of nearly 600,000 tonnes in 2014. However, production fell back to around 550,000 tonnes in 2015.
Japan is the second largest producer of whiting, with an estimated output of 315,000 tonnes in 2015. Production in Japan has been on a declining trend in recent years, falling from a peak of over 400,000 tonnes in 2011.
Korea is the third largest producer of whiting, with an estimated output of 210,000 tonnes in 2015. Production in Korea has been growing steadily in recent years, reaching a peak of over 250,000 tonnes in 2014. However, production fell back to around 210,000 tonnes in 2015.
Russia is the fourth largest producer of whiting, with an estimated output of 140,000 tonnes in 2015. Production in Russia has been on a declining trend in recent years, falling from a peak of over 200,000 tonnes in 2011.
Norway is the fifth largest producer of whiting, with an estimated output of 135,000 tonnes in 2015. Production in Norway has been on a declining trend in recent years, falling from a peak of over 200,000 tonnes in 2011.
Global production of whiting is forecast to remain relatively stable in the coming years, with an expected output of 1.39 million tonnes by 2020. The top five producing countries are expected to remain the same, with China, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Norway accounting for the vast majority of production.