Certifier : 
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
15 Jun 2013
Certificate expires : 
15 Jun 2023


Saithe (also called coley) is a whitefish closely related to pollock, common in the North Atlantic. The fish mature at around 5-7 years and spawn along coastal banks, mainly in February when the water temperature is 6-10°C. Following spawning, larvae settle in inshore areas and migrate to the coastal areas at 2-4 years of age.

Smaller saithe feed on crustaceans, while larger saithe are voracious predators feeding opportunistically on sandeel, herring, sprat, Norway pout, haddock and other young fish. They grow rapidly at around 15cm per year for the first three to four years, attaining an average weight of 1.5-2g by age 4. They reach a length of 100cm (10-12kg) at around 14 years of age and can reach a maximum length of around 130cm, weighing 20kg, at 25-30 years old.

The Faroe Islands saithe fishery includes 24 boats from two Faroese companies fishing on the Faroe Plateau and Faroe Bank.

The vessels use a variety of methods. Trawling is mainly used by larger offshore vessels. Vessels operating in deep water as well as smaller inshore boats use longlines. Smaller boats, primarily inshore or on the Faroe Plateau, also use jigs – unbaited hooks with brightly coloured plastic lures.

As a condition of certification, the fishery is committed to strengthening its harvesting strategy and improving monitoring of other retained species such as ling.

Saithe (Pollachius virens) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book