Norway haddock (Sebastes viviparus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Sebastes viviparus is a small redfish species with a maximum recorded size of 35 cm. As the name suggests, this fish has a characterstic light red colouring, and three well defined brown-black markings in the dorsal area. It has large eyes and a moderate to large mouth which is terminal, oblique and protractible. Several spines are evident on the head and body. The single dorsal fin has 14-16 spines and 12-17 rays. The anal fin has 3 spines and 7 or less rays. The pectoral fin is broad based, large and fan-like. The caudal fin is rounded.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found in the Shetlands, Scotland, northern England, Wales and Ireland. Rarely found in the English Channel.

Global distribution

Northeast Atlantic; Norwegian coast, Rockall Bank, Faroes and Iceland.


A demersal marine species with a depth range between 5 to 300 m, often in coastal waters. It inhabits rocky bottoms close to the shore, generally between 10 and 150 m. Sebastes viviparus live in shoals and moves closer to the shore during the summer months.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Light red with three well defined brown-black blotches in the dorsal area.
  • Ridgebone below eye
  • Seven or less soft rays in the anal fin, contrasting with eight or more in other Sebastes species.

Additional information

The Norway haddock is closely related to commercially important redfish species but exploitation is not widespread due to its small size. It is of minor commercial importance in Iceland. Despite this, due to the similar appearance of redfish species, catches are often grouped together as redfish (Barro, 2005). The Norway haddock is vulnerable as it displays low resilience, with a minimum population doubling time of 4.5 to 14 years (FishBase, 2000).


  1. Barro, D.G., 2005. The genus Sebastes Cuvier, 1829 (Pisces, Scorpaenidae) in the North Atlantic: species and stock discrimination using traditional and geometric morphometrics. , Ph.D. thesis, University of Vigo.

  2. FishBase, 2000. FishBase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2001-05-03

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Wheeler, A., 1969. The fishes of the British Isles and north-west Europe. London: Macmillan.

  5. WoRMS 2007. The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)., 2008-10-31


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-05-28


This review can be cited as:

Sweet, N. A. 2008. Sebastes viviparus Norway haddock. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 28-05-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 23/07/2008