The Norwegian Marine Research Institute has recommended a Barents Sea cod quota of up to 566,784 tonnes for 2023 – a 20% reduction on the 2022 figure and the lowest quota recommendation since 2009.
‘The cod population is declining, but will probably stabilise if the advice is followed,’ researcher and member of the Norwegian-Russian research group Bjarte Bogstad is quoted as saying in a statement from the institute.
‘It’s maybe more of a reduction than we had hoped for, but at the same time, we had expected that quotas would be reduced, said director of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association Kåre Heggebø.
He commented that the Association has confidence in the researchers’ work with the quotas and the principles that underlie it.
‘We are in favour of sustainable and research-based management. There is agreement between the researchers’ and the fishermen’s observations of a smaller amount of cod in the sea. Then it the responsible policy is to reduce the quota. Now we have to work to get a stable and then an increasing stock.’
Kåre Heggebø stressed that it is positive that Norwegian and Russian researchers have collaborated on the recommendations that have been put forward.
Researchers estimate that the spawning stock of cod is now around 800,000 tonnes, the lowest since 2008, and it is judged to have been at its peak in 2013 at 2.3 million tonnes.
The recommended 566,784 tonnes for 2023 is 20% less than in 2022, and last year’s figure was also a 20% reduction.
‘The quota recommendations are hindered by an administrative rule which states that the quota cannot be reduced by more than 20%,’ Bjarte Bogstad said.
‘We can expect a further decline also before the development flattens out,’ he added.
Further recommendations are for a NE Arctic haddock quota not exceeding 170,067 tonnes – a 5% decrease from 2022. The recommendation for redfish is a 66,779 tonne quota in 2023 and 70,164 tonnes in 2024.