Rare golden haddock caught off Unst

The rare golden haddock was caught off Unst. Photo: NAFC
The rare golden haddock was caught off Unst. Photo: NAFC

An unusual haddock caught off Unst may represent a ‘golden’ opportunity for fans of rare fish.

An albino, or “golden”, haddock was landed at the Lerwick fishmarket.

It was caught by local vessel Resilient while she was fishing about 45 miles northeast of Unst.

NAFC Marine Centre technician Leanna Henderson said golden haddock have no pigment in their skin, meaning that they lack the haddock’s normal colouration, including the distinctive black ‘thumb print’.

That leaves the fish almost completely white, but with a golden tint around its fins.

Very little scientific information is said to be available about the condition, but it is thought to be caused by a genetic abnormality that means that the fish’s skin cells don’t make any pigment.

The lack of colour hadn’t obviously affected this haddock too much as it had grown to a length of 56cm, as this photograph shows, and must have been several years old.

Golden haddock are very rare – no-one at the NAFC has seen one before, although a handful have previously been caught around Britain and Ireland.


Add Your Comment
  • Paul Meyer

    • November 29th, 2016 12:47

    A genetic abnormality?!

    I’d blame the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, plus all the pollutants that have been pumped into the North Sea during the past 60 years. Before eating that fish I’d get is tested for high concentrations of mercury, pesticides & radioactivity!


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