Atlantic cod in the North-East Arctic (ICES subareas 1 and 2), Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 22 March 2019
- Cod in Subareas 1 and 2 (Northeast Arctic cod)
- Russia and Norway
- Stock Status
Very low risk
Northeast Arctic Cod (ICES Subareas 1 and 2) has been scored a very low risk. This is because the stock is at safe levels and harvested optimally. The spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been above precautionary levels (above Bpa and MSYBtrigger) since 2002. The SSB reached a peak in 2013 and now shows a downward trend. Fishing mortality (F) was reduced from well above Flim (outside safe biological limits) in 1997 to below FMSY in 2008. It remained below FMSY until 2017 when it became equal to FMSY. There has been no strong recruitment since the 2004 and 2005 year classes.
Northeast Arctic Cod in ICES Subareas 1 and 2 has been scored a low risk. This is because a scientific stock assessment is carried out annually based both on fishery dependent and independent data and there is management plan for the stock. There is also adequate enforcement of fishery control rules by Norway and Russia regulated by agreement through the Joint Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Commission (JR-NFC).
Although there has been a reduction in the TAC for 2019 to counter the declining stock biomass, the agreed TAC has been set ~7% higher than that advised in the current precautionary JN-RFC management plan (though this is allowed when the stock biomass is well within precautionary limits).
It should also be noted that bycatches of golden redfish and Norwegian coastal cod remain above sustainable catch limits in the fisheries targeting NE Arctic cod.
The bycatch in fisheries for trawl fisheries on Northeast Arctic Cod in ICES Subareas I and II has been scored a high risk. This is because there are bycatches of golden redfish (Sebastes norvegicus), which is outside safe biological limits and Norwegian coastal cod which is a low level.
The habitat impact of the demersal otter trawls fishery has been scored a moderate risk. This is because, although demersal otter trawls are likely to have effects on seabed ecosystems, there is good understanding of these effects in this area. Mitigation measures based on this understanding, including designated marine protected areas in Norwegian and Russian waters, as well as measures which require fishers to avoid vulnerable habitats if they encounter them, are in place. Fishers tend to avoid vulnerable habitats to avoid damage to gear and reduced quality of catches. Continuing efforts to map seabed habitats, understand the implications of changes in ice cover due to ocean warming and reduce the physical effects of gear through technological improvements are aimed at reducing these effects.