Whiting has delicate white flesh and is best used when very fresh. Sold whole and filleted, fresh or frozen. Also dried, salted and smoked. Whiting is an under appreciated fish that, amongst many other uses makes a great alternative to cod in fish and chips!
Whiting stocks fluctuate naturally but have taken a downwards trend in the past year with ICES now saying that stocks are below sustainable levels. Fishing effort is too high across the European fleet and a formerly under-utilsed species is now no longer recommended by Cornwall Good Seafood Guide. Avoid eating fish below 30cm – this is the size at which they become mature.
A total of 260 tonnes of whiting were landed to Cornish ports in 2019, with a value of £396K (MMO data).
Updated October 2020
Beam trawls are nets with a steel beam that holds the net open. The belly of the net is made of chains and the upper surface of the net is mesh. Beam trawlers pull two nets along the seabed simultaneously.Learn more
Cornish vessels landing to Cornish Ports
Demersal trawls are large nets that are pulled through the water with the bottom edge of the net touching the seabed. At each edge the net is pulled open by metal ‘trawl doors’. Sometimes referred to as Otter trawling.Learn more
Cornwall Good Seafood Guide rates fish on sustainability using a scale of 1 to 5.
1, 2 and 3 are recommended, Fish to avoid are rated 5.
We use the system devised by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so our scores are comparable with the scores produced by MCS for the UK and fisheries from all around the world. For more information on scoring click here.
Whiting is a relative of cod, doesn’t grow as large (up to 70cm) they are sandy blue green colour. They like deeper cool waters. Whiting breed between January and July with peak spawning in March and April. They can live for up to 20 years and mature at an age of 2-3 years. Biological vulnerability for this species is relatively low 37% (Ref. Chung et al 2005, source www.fishbase.org) .
A species who's abundance naturally fluctuates in Celtic seas, whiting is a cold water species that has poor recruitment in warmer years. In 2018 stock levels suddenly fell below sustainable levels, (well below msy ) and Fishing pressure on this species has increased with fishing levels now well above MSY (ICES). There are some problems with discards of undersized and unwanted whiting and technical measures need to be developed to address this. Many SW trawlers are involved in Seafish gear modification trials that aim to improve gear to reduce unwanted catches of undersized or over quota whiting.
Whiting are mainly taken in mixed-species fisheries targeting cod, haddock, and whiting with otter trawls and gill nets. Trawling is associated with benthic impacts and high levels of bycatch. Discards, especially of 1 and 2 year old fish, are incredibly high due to the low market value of the species. Up to 75% of whiting caught can be discarded.
Live oysters are mainly served raw. All you need is a knife, a bottle of good wine, and a little lemon or tobasco and away you go!