It is common in the North Sea and in colder parts of the northern European Atlantic, and throngs particularly around Iceland.
They are small fish, with silver skin on their sides, greenish-blue backs, and a dark rear fin.
The flesh is lean and non-oily, and cooks up flaky.
The largest ones caught weigh about 7 pounds (3 kg.) They reach 45 cm (1 1/2 feet) long when they are 4 years old, and can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) long. They can live up to 8 years, but males usually die before that. Males are also smaller than females.
They often keep close to the shore, and feed during the day. They eat smaller fish such as pilchards but will also eat aquatic worms, shrimp and crustaceans.
It is not a very expensive fish in the store or at the market.
Fresh ones are best used up right away, as they take on a fishy taste quite quickly after that.
Best made into fish pies or fish cakes or cooked up in a batter.
The guts of whiting are often heavily infested with Anisakis parasitical worms that can affect humans, so the fish needs to be cleaned before the worms can pass into the fish’s flesh.