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Golden Again for the Resilient!

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Albino or 'Golden' Haddock caught by the Resilient

The local fishing boat Resilient (LK 195) caught a rare albino - or 'golden' - haddock this week while fishing north of Fair Isle, almost exactly a year after she caught a previous one.

NAFC Marine Centre technician Leanna Henderson expressed her surprise, saying: "I have only ever seen two 'golden' haddock and it seems incredible that they were both caught by the same boat almost exactly a year apart." The Resilient's previous 'golden' haddock was caught while fishing north of Unst and landed on 20th October 2016, a year ago to the day. That was the first one that anyone at NAFC had seen.

Leanna explained that 'golden' haddock have little or 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 - hence the name.

'Golden' haddock are very rare, although a handful have previously been caught around Britain and Ireland, and very little scientific information is available about the condition. It is thought though 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 about 45cm and must have been several years old.