Blue Whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) – Profile | Traits

Blue Whiting
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

One of the two species of the genus Micromesistius genera of the Cod family is Blue Whiting, scientific name Micromesistius poutassou, common in the northeast Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Iceland and Spitsbergen. It is also seen in the northern part of the Mediterranean, where it can be abundant locally.

Blue Whiting also occurs in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean between Canada and Greenland but is considered rare. It has a long, narrow body and a silver underbody. The fish can reach a length of more than 40 cm. The average length of Blue Whiting caught on the UK’s west coast is 31 cm.

A related species, southern Blue Whiting, Microsistius australis, occurs in the southern hemisphere.


The exploitation of Blue Whiting began only in the 1970s. Over the past decades, the species has become increasingly important to the fishing industries of northern European countries, including Russia. From 8 to 25 catches exceeded 3 million tons. According to the United Nations

Food and Agriculture Organization, Blue Whiting is the fifth most important fishing species in 2006. However, stock deployment plummeted to a low level in 2006 and has weakened ever since, resulting in a decline in spawning stock and eventually a strong reduction in catch quotas. Little is known about the reasons for low recruitment in recent years.

The total quota was set at 5,6 tonnes in 20 years, which is less than 2% of the record catheter of 2.5 million tonnes in 20 years. Catches exceed 100% quota in 20.

For 2012, ICES suggests catches should not exceed 391,000 tons. This large increase in quota (but not figure 8-20) compared to the quota at 25 was due to the stock valuation revision; However, employment in the stock is still low and the stock is predicted to decline. The coastal states have set a total quota of 391,000 tonnes for 2012.

Fish is not usually marketed fresh, but it is processed into fish food and oil. However, in Russia and southern Europe, Blue Whitings are sometimes sold as food fish.

Blue Whiting


Blue whiting in the northeast Atlantic is a straddling stock: it occupies the Faroe Islands, the European Union, Iceland, and Norway as well as the exclusive economic zone (EZ) of the high seas. This means the call for effective control for international cooperation.

The quota provides ICES for the Blue Whiting of the northeast Atlantic. For a long time, Blue Whiting fisheries were largely controlled by national set quotas because there was no international agreement on the total quota sharing.

As a result, the total catch advisory quota has been exceeded, however, coastal states (Faroe Islands, European Union, Iceland, and Norway) reached an agreement on December 25, 2005, sometimes called “Olympic fishing.”

Since 26, the Blue Whiting Fishery has been governed by the agreement, which gives the European Union the largest share, but Norway has been carrying the largest annual quota through quota changes.

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