by David Proudfoot

Merlangius merlangus

species ID whiting

Distinguishing features

The whiting is a slim bodied member of the cod family with three dorsal fins which are joined. It has two anal fins the first of which is long and the first edge starts below the mid point of the first dorsal. The small barbel in the young whiting disappears in the adults. There is a black spot at the base of the pectoral fin. The silvery white colour on the belly and sides merge into a light copper brown or greeny blue on the back.


The whiting can reach a weight of about 3 kg and a maximum length of around 70 cm.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 4lb 8oz 0dms / 2.041kgs
UK Boat Record: 7lb 6oz 0dms / 3.345kgs

European Line Class Record for this species


The whiting can form prolific shoals in depths of 30 to 100 metres but can be found both shallower and deeper. It is found from the waters around Iceland and Norway down to the Mediterranean. It will happily live on the bottom or into mid-water over seabeds of sand or mud.


Feeds mainly on small fish such as sandeels, herring and sprats but will also eat shrimps and other crustaceans.


Whiting are not particularly fussy when it comes to bait but lugworm, squid and mackerel will normally produce particularly when used as a cocktail.


Whiting will occasionally be caught on small feathers and pirks.

species ID whiting

haddock (top) and a whiting

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