Norway’s Institute of Marine Research has updated its quota advice for sandeel, advising a 70,000 tonne quota increase.
Sandeel is one of the small number of stocks the Institute issues advice for outside the ICES framework and this would take the quota from 55,000 to 125,000 tonnes. It follows the May survey of North Sea sandeel grounds and is based on acoustic data and sampling.
‘We found that there has been relatively strong recruitment for sandeel,’ said researcher Espen Johnsen. ‘Recruitment is among the best we have seen in the last three years.’
The Institute of Marine Research divides sandeel grounds into sub-areas, some of which remain closed to ensure recruitment. Sub-areas 1b, 1c, 2b, 2c, 3b, 3c and 4a are open to sandeel fisheries, but the Viking Bank where the stock is low remains closed to fishing.
‘The historically strong 2016-year class predominates on sandeel grounds, and the new catch results confirm that there is a strong year class. It looks promising for the stock,’ Espen Johnsen said.
During the late and cold spring last year, researchers were concerned at the condition of juvenile sandeel, which were low in weight, but Espen Johnsen said that this year’s sandeel is in good condition this year, and that there is good feed supply feed abundance – although the sandeel has still not recovered 100% from last year’s poor growth.