The Norwegian-Russian Barents Sea research group has recommended that the cod quota be reduced by 20% next year.
‘This is dramatic for the whitefish sector,’ said Audun Maråk, director of Norwegian fishing vessel operators’ federation Fiskebåt.
Researchers estimate that the cod spawning stock at around 700,000 tonnes, the lowest since 2008. There have been some strong years, including a historic peak in the cod spawning stock in 2013 of 2.2 million tonnes.
The primary reason for the stock decline is that the recruitment of cod has been below average after the 2014 year class and that several year classes are very weak, according to the researchers.
‘The reduction is far more than expected, especially when you take into account that, according to the researchers, the quota will fall even further. Researchers had previously said that the cod quotas would probably stabilise at around 600,000 tonnes. Now the recommendation is a quota of 453,427 tonnes – and it is still to be further reduced. What becomes of this 600,000 tonne stability?’ Audun Maråk said.
He also commented that the recommended 38% reduction to the Greenland halibut quota is incomprehensible.
Fiskebåt has requested a meeting with the Institute of Marine Research to review the quota advice for the groundfish sector.
Final decisions on quotas will taken during the negotiations between the Norwegian and Russian authorities in the autumn.