Norwegian vessel owners’ organisation Fiskebåt has requested that the authorities increase this year’s snow crab quota by an addition 1000 tonnes.
According to Fiskebåt, fishing has been good this year and the takeup on the current 4000 tonne quota has been good, bringing with it a risk that quota could run out this autumn.
A 4000 tonne was quota allocated for 2019, of which 25 tonnes was earmarked for research and fisheries management purposes. The allocated quota was in line with the scientific advice as the Institute of Marine Research had recommended a quota 0f between 3500 and 5000 tonnes for this year.
‘Therefore the Institute of Marine Research believes that a catch of 5000 tonnes in 2019 will be sustainable,’ Fiskebåt points out in its letter to the Ministry.
Fiskebåt points out that snow crab is found over large areas on the Norwegian shelf and the Russian shelf in the Barents Sea. Stock research is at an early stage and has to a limited extent this has taken place in commercial fishing areas, while in the Russian part of the Loophole area there was considerable fishing before the ban was introduced by the Russian authorities with effect from 2017.
As a result, the pressure on snow crab has been significantly reduced in recent years.
‘There is therefore still a considerable potential for snow crab migrating into Norwegian sea areas from the east,’ a Fiskebåt spokesman said.
According to statistics from Råfisklaget as of week 23, this year’s catch has reached 2066 tonnes. At the same time last year it was 587 tonnes. According to Fiskebåt’s own predictions, another 600 to 1000 tonnes will be landed before the conservation period begins, so fishing in the first half of this year can be expected to total around 3000 tonnes of snow crab.