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Photo: Aleksandr Pavlenko/VNIRO

No capelin quota in the Barents Sea in 2021

Click on the flag for more information about Norway NORWAY
Saturday, October 17, 2020, 21:00 (GMT + 9)

The capelin stock is well below the limit for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to recommend a quota.

It is the echo sounder registrations on the annual ecosystem cruise in the Barents Sea that provide the most important basis for estimating how much capelin there is. Based on the cruise this autumn , the researchers have calculated that the stock of spawning capelin now is 545,000 tonnes.

But then cod and other predators will supply themselves. The researchers therefore make a forecast for how much capelin it is likely to survive long enough to spawn before 1 April next year.

Catch, recruitment, spawning stock (1 April) and measured stock in the autumn for capelin in the Barents Sea. Catch and stock measured in the autumn in millions of tonnes, spawning stock in a thousand tonnes, recruitment in billions of 1-year-olds. The shaded green area shows the 90% confidence interval (5-95%) for the spawning stock.(Image: Havforskningsinstituttet) | Click to enlarge

It is unlikely that there will be a surplus

"The lower limit for being able to harvest the stock is set at 200,000 tonnes. It is only 27 percent probable that the spawning stock stays above this limit, even without fishing", explains marine scientist Bjarte Bogstad.

He is a Norwegian member of the advisory committee of ICES, and a member of the Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission, which agrees on the management of capelin in the Barents Sea.

"Russia and Norway aim for capelin to be primarily food for other animals in the ecosystem in the Barents Sea. There is a possible surplus we will fish for", says Bogstad.

Sees signs of improvement

The population is larger than at the same time last year. In addition, the researchers see new light at the end of the tunnel. There were good numbers of juveniles in the Barents Sea during this year's ecosystem cruise. If these recruits survive, they will join the spawning stock for fishing in 2022.

"The amount of one-year-old capelin on the ecosystem cruise this autumn is the highest we have measured since 2013", says the researcher.

Ståle Kolbeinson, Else Holm and Eilert Hermansen sort capelin (Photographer: Georg Skaret /Havforskningsinstituttet)

Delayed coverage on the Russian side

The ecosystem cruise in the Barents Sea is a Norwegian-Russian collaboration in which research vessels from both countries follow predetermined routes on the map to measure fish stocks.

"Coverage on the Russian side was delayed this year and only parts of it are included in the basis for this quota council", says Bjarte Bogstad.

Based on the distribution of capelin in recent years, the researchers believe that the delayed coverage does not have a decisive effect on the quota council.

"There is a potential distribution area for juveniles in the southeast that has not been investigated. But we consider that most of the spawning capelin is covered".

Author: Erlend A. Lorentzen / Havforskningsinstituttet (Article has been translated from original in Norwegian)


Reference

ICES. 2020. Capelin (Mallotus villosus) in subareas 1 and 2 (Northeast Arctic), excluding Division 2.a west of 5 ° W (Barents Sea capelin). In Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2020. ICES Advice 2020, cap.27.1-2, URL: https://doi.org/10.17895/ices.advice.5889 .


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