Independent fisheries scientist Jón Kristjánsson has criticised the Icelandic Marine Research Institute and its 20% catch rule.
He said that the MRI autumn report stating that the overall cod index has dropped since 2014 and 2015 to its 2013 levels shows that the 20% rule is a failure, and commented that the MRI explanation that this is due to a small 2013 year class and a drop in the average weights of some year classes is also flawed.
He points out that the autumn index has been rising since 2008, and has now dropped sharply.
‘This shows the distribution of cod over the last three years,’ he said, commenting that there appears to be a lack of the stock’s fish in the 40-70cm size bracket.
‘This is not fish that has been systematically fished more than other sizes and the system of closures is supposed to protect all fish under 55cm. These fish have disappeared from the stock, to nobody’s benefit,’ he said.
‘Of course it makes a difference that the reduction in catching from 35% to 20% has a distinct effect on the cod’s feed sources. All the capelin is being eaten up, so there’s every chance the pelagic fleet won’t have much to do this winter.’