To remove any hesitation at the fishmonger, let’s complete our guide to buying fish with a species that can be eaten without fear of its extinction. This week: the saithe
Anxious to help you choose your fish better, consoGlobe has developed a “Fish Guide” for you, screening those that can be eaten without harming the environment or its health. After the whiting and the herring, here is the saithe.
Saithe, a good fish all year round
The saithe is also called ” black hake “, ” black haddock ” or ” hake pollock ” when it is frozen, belongs to the family of gadidae (cod, whiting, haddock …). The pollack is called Pollachius virens , while its cousin the pollack is Pollachius pollachius .
Description and secrets of the saithe
The saithe is a close relative of the cod, from which it is distinguished by the absence of barbels. On the other hand, the young pollack has a small barbel under the chin which disappears when adult.
Its fairly elongated body has a pointed head, a back whose color ranges from greenish-brown to blackish with a grayish belly and silver reflections. Its side fins are clearly visible. In saithe, the lateral line is always clear (almost white) and practically without curvature above the pectoral fins.
- Maximum weight: 14 kg (average 2.5 to 5 kg)
- Maximum size: 1.30 m (60 – 90 cm)
- Lifespan: up to 25 years
- Sexual maturity: between 4 and 7 years old (from a height of 55 cm or a weight around 1.65 kg)
- Spawning period: January to March
What differences with pollack?
The pollack shows a dark lateral line with a marked curvature above the pectoral fins. His lower jaw is visibly longer than his upper jaw.
Its head is more pointed than that of the saithe and its color is rather coppery but sometimes of a darker brown, its belly is clear.
Young people have recognizable yellow-orange colors.
The saithe habitat
Gregarious fish , saithe lives in the cold and temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North-East and West Atlantic, from Greenland to Norway in the North, to the Bay of Biscay in the South. Saithe swims in large schools near the coast, in the open water or near the bottom up to 400 meters deep.
At the time of reproduction, females lay between 200,000 and 4 million eggs , of which very few will reach adulthood.
The main migrations take place at the time of reproduction when the spawners massively reach the spawning grounds, as well as in the spring, when individuals aged 3 to 4 years leave the northern fjords or coastal waters to reach the continental shelf.
State of stocks and fishing
The place is fished industrially by bottom trawl, mainly in an area north of the Shetland Islands, but also with pelagic nets, seines and sometimes at the bottom line. Due to its slow growth, late sexual maturity and longevity, this fish is particularly sensitive to overfishing.
If in the 1990s, the fall in demand and poor management led to a decline in saithe in the North Sea, the stock has since been managed jointly between the European Union and Norway. It is now in a fair condition, thanks to fishing that causes few accidental catches.
The pollack sold in Europe comes from 5 main stocks:
- Iceland : good health of the stock and increasing biomass.
- North-East Arctic (Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea): exploited at a level compatible with a precautionary approach since 1997, after a period of overexploitation between the 70s and 90s, but also between 2010 and 2012. Here, the exploitation of saithe causes bycatch which impacts the redfish stock ( Sebastes norvegicus ).
- Faroese plateau : slightly overexploited.
- West Scotland , Skagerrak / Kattegat, North Sea, Faroe Islands: operated at a sustainable level since 2013 thanks to a joint management plan between the European Union and Norway.
As a general rule, prefer products caught with seine, bottom gillnets and bottom longlines rather than pelagic trawls, demersal otter traps, or demersal ox trawls.
Resource: GREEN LIGHT
According to the WWF Switzerland and the scientists who follow the status of the saithe stocks, it has been more than 5 years that we fish less than what we could take without danger for the stock.
By consuming more saithe, we are consuming less overfished species such as cod.
Minimum size: YES
Please note, the minimum regulatory marketing size is 35 cm in European waters for all fishing gear; of 45 cm in Norwegian waters for trawls, gill nets and the nets; from 40 to 42 cm for seines depending on the fishing areas.
When buying, prefer larger fish (60 cm or more than 2.3 kg for eviscerated fish) to ensure that they have reached sexual maturity.
The Total Authorized Catch limits catches to 119,184 tonnes (2018)
Fifteen saithe fisheries in the North-East Atlantic are MSC- certified (including 3 in France: Euro nor, the Compagnie des Pêches de Saint-Malo and La Scapêche ).
Saithe in food
If this fish remained for a long time among the cheapest products of the tide department, it has seen in recent years its price increase and is now part of the products of the category “mid-range”, in terms of image.
Nutritional qualities of the place
The place is a good source of protein with a low fat content (less than 2%), the majority of which is polyunsaturated fatty acids and in particular omega 3, which have protective effects on cardiovascular health. Among the omega 3 fatty acids found in this fish is alpha-linolenic acid. This essential fatty acid is essential for our organism and must necessarily be provided by food.
|Nutritional intakes||per 100 g|
|Omega 3||0.2686 g|
In the saithe, there are also monounsaturated fatty acids, also favorable for good cardiovascular functioning, as well as large quantities of vitamins of group B, B12, B3 (or PP) in particular; and vitamin A and D. saithe flesh also contains minerals and trace elements, including selenium and phosphorus.
Pollack and pollution
Saithe is a predatory fish : juveniles hunt small crustaceans, and adults small fish that they swallow whole. Rather high in the food chain, saithe, like pollack for that matter, can sometimes contain traces of toxic (mercury, etc.).
Consumption of saithe
Called pollock when frozen, pollack can be eaten all year round. Smoked, it is part of lean fish and therefore particularly digestible, and it is recommended as part of a slimming diet.
Its neutral taste and the fact that it contains few bones make it ideal for children.
How to choose this fish on the stall?
In fishmongers, this fish must have a very white flesh which has a good resistance: therefore avoid slices or fillets which turn dark. The skin of a place sold whole must be very firm and shiny .
Like all fish, saithe bought fresh must be consumed as quickly as possible . It should not have been left in your refrigerator for more than two days.
How to cook it?
As its local flesh easily breaks down , be careful not to let it cook for too long. Its taste is fairly neutral, it is best to season it well.
Multiple cooking methods are possible with this whole fish, but ideally it can be cooked in the oven.
The fillets are cooked in the pan, after being floured on both sides. We can also bread them.
It is also very well poached, cooking that is highly suited to the fragility of its flesh, or to court-bouillon will slightly enhance the neutral flavor of the place.
Its ease of preparation makes it ideal for people on the go.