Haddock vs Pollock: 6 Key Differences

Besides being a delectable dish, fish is an excellent source of protein, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to heart and brain health, and that the human body doesn’t get to produce by itself. It’s also known to contain less saturated fat and cholesterol than meat and has long been a mainstay of the healthy Mediterranean diet.

The diversity of fish species makes many white fishes common among recreational anglers. But for haddocks and pollocks, in particular, their popularity extends worldwide.

They are both members of the Gadidae family of true codfish and, therefore, closely related. And while both are notable options for commercial and recreational fishing, telling haddocks and pollocks apart isn’t as straightforward.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible—they each have distinct features, which this article looks forward to exploring in detail, along with other related information. Let’s get right into it!

What is Haddock?

Haddock is a cod family member renowned for its moist texture, firmer flesh, and stronger flavor. 

Haddocks are members of the Melanogrammus genus, which contains only one species, the haddock, scientifically known as Melanogrammus aeglefinus.

They make an excellent substitute for cod, and with a slightly sweeter flavor, they are arguably one of, if not the best, fish for smoking. 

Haddock Nutrition Facts

A 100g serving of haddock includes the following:

  • Protein: 20g
  • Fat: 0.6g
  • Calories: 90
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 0.166g
  • Sodium: 261mg

How to Cook Haddock

As a versatile fish, there are many ways one can use to prepare haddock. Popular ones include:

  • Baking
  • Casserole
  • Deep frying
  • Poaching in milk
  • Pan-frying
  • Grilling

What is Pollock?

Pollock is a cold-loving, pelagic fish of the cod family, most prevalent in the North Pacific (Monterey Bay, Alaska Bay, and the Bering Sea).

Pollock fish are classified under the Pollachius genus, which includes two cod species: the saithe, also known as the Boston Blue, and the Atlantic pollock. 

Pollock Nutrition Facts

A 100g serving of Atlantic Pollock contains the following:

  • Protein: 19.44 g
  • Fat: 0.98 g
  • Calories: 92
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: 443 mg
  • Sodium: 86 mg

How to Cook Pollock

Pollock boasts a mild flavor that compliments an array of side dishes. It also has a light texture and is high in essential vitamins and lean protein, just like most fish. Like the haddocks, pollocks are pretty versatile to boot and can be prepared in various ways, such as: 

  • Baking
  • Grilling
  • Pan-frying

Haddock vs Pollock: Key Differences

haddock vs pollock

Haddocks and Pollocks are no different when it comes to mistaking one for another. They may appear similar at first glance, so people often find it difficult to distinguish them. 

Nonetheless, you can tell the difference between pollocks and haddocks using the few key features discussed below: 

Appearance

The appearances of both types of fish are one way to differentiate them, as each tends to have its share of unique physical attributes.

The haddock, for instance, is distinguished by its three dorsal fins, two anal fins, a black lateral line running along its side, and a white belly. It also has a unique dark blotch over its pectoral fin known as the “Devil’s thumbprint.”

On the other hand, the pollock has a crooked white lateral line, a greenish coloring, a torpedo-shaped body, broadly -distributed dorsal fins, a small chin barbel, and anal fins.

Diet

Despite both being carnivorous, the two species feed on different things. Haddocks eat bottom-dwelling organisms such as sea urchins, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks. They may also eat fish eggs every once in a while, with some fully-grown haddocks going for small fish to boot—mostly herring.

On the contrary, a young pollock’s diet consists of krill and other planktonic crustaceans. They tend to change their diet to bigger prey like squid and small fish when they get older. 

Size

Another simple way to tell haddocks and pollocks apart is through their size. Pollocks typically weigh around 35 pounds and grow roughly 12 to 42 inches long. 

Conversely, haddocks develop quickly and mature early. Typically, they weigh between 2 and 40 pounds and could grow as long as 12 to 36 inches. 

Predators

Haddocks and pollocks are no exception to having predators—plenty of them. Gray seals, skates, spiny dogfish, and ground species like cod, monkfish, pollock, and halibut hunt haddocks.

Meanwhile, pollocks are preyed upon by aquatic mammals, seabirds, sea lions, sleeper sharks, salmon sharks, and other fish.

Distribution

Pollocks are abundant in the Bay of Biscay and the greater Northeast Atlantic Ocean. On the other hand, Haddocks are mostly found on both North Atlantic sides.

On the western side, you can spot them in New Jersey, Cape May, and Newfoundland, and they are also plentiful on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. 

Lifespan

Haddocks and pollocks are typical rapid-growing fish species attributed to relatively short life cycles.

Compared to other fish species, haddocks grow fast and have shorter lifespans, with most reaching their sexual maturity between the ages of one and four. Scientists often catch 3- to 7-year-old haddocks, although they are believed to have a lifespan of ten years or possibly more. 

On the contrary, pollocks begin reproducing at 3 to 4 years and can live for 12 to 15 years.

Haddock vs Pollock: Which Fish is Better?

Haddock or pollock; which one is better? Well, both are great types of white fish, but with varying flavor profiles. The former has a milder taste, making it ideal for people after flaky meat with a more profound taste.

Meanwhile, unlike haddock, pollock is a little easier to prepare and leaner, making it the go-to whitefish for people looking to reduce their fat intake.

To determine the right fish for you, consider what you expect from your dinner. Do you want something filling? Well, haddock is your best bet. Do you want something light? This one goes to pollock!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about haddocks and pollocks:

Is eating haddock healthy?

Besides being a taste bud teaser, haddock boasts low fat and makes a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Some health benefits of haddock fish include enhanced brain function, immunity bolstering, stress reduction, maintenance of cells, sugar level regulation, and more.

Is haddock an endangered species?

According to the IUCN’s (International Union for Conservation) 1996 assessment, haddocks are a vulnerable species.

What do we get from eating pollock?

Like its counterpart, haddock, pollock is low in saturated fat and makes an excellent source of lean protein, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and other nutrients.
It could help you prevent heart disease, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, improve brain function, maintain eye health, and more.
How are haddocks different from Alaska pollocks?
Haddocks differ from Alaska pollocks in taxonomy, range, habitat, appearance, and size. (Source)

Is pollock a good cod substitute?

Yes. While pollock may resemble cod, the two aren’t quite the same. However, you could use pollock or cod in most fish recipes.