Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2015
Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
Capelin in Div. 3NO
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Capelin, fr - Capelan, es - Capelán, zh - 毛鳞鱼, ru - Мойва
Geographic extent of Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2014
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGray
Abundance levelUnknown Stock SizeUncertain/Not assessed

Acoustic surveys series terminated in 1994 indicated a stock at a low level. Although biomass indices have increased in recent years, bottom trawl surveys are not considered a satisfactory basis for a stock assessment of a pelagic species.

Habitat and Biology
Climatic zone: Temperate.   Bottom type: Unspecified.   Depth zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal distribution: Neritic.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

Capelin was caught in a directed trawl fishery. There is low bycatch in other trawl fisheries. The fishery is regulated by quota and has been under moratorium since 1995, and there were no reported catches between 1994 and 2013. Recent catch estimates and TACs (t) are as follows:

  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
TAC ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf ndf
STATLANT 21 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1  

ndf - no directed fishery

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

No fishery.
Overall Assessment Results
Reference Point

Not defined.

Quantitative assessment of risk at various catch options is not possible for this stock at this time.
Assessment Model
Analytical assessment

Assessment was based on evaluation of trends in acoustic survey data (1975 – 1994) and bottom trawl surveys (1995 – 2014). Bottom-trawling is not a satisfactory basis for a stock assessment of a pelagic species. At best the assessment is only indicative of major changes in abundance.

Next full assessment is scheduled for 2018. Unless an acoustic survey is available, Scientific Council will be unable to produce more specific advice.


Human impact

Low fishery related mortality due to moratorium and low bycatch in other fisheries. Other sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are considered minor.

Biological and environmental interactions

Changes in growth, maturity and recruitment are linked to temperature on the Grand Banks. Recent increases in temperature (STACFEN 2015) may provide more favorable conditions for capelin. Cod in Div. 3NO has increased slightly in recent years, and may cause increased natural mortality through predation.
Scientific Advice

Special comments

Bottom-trawling is not a satisfactory basis for a stock assessment of a pelagic species and survey results are indicative only. Investigations to evaluate the status of capelin stock should utilize trawl acoustic surveys to allow comparison with historical time series.
Management unit: Yes

Management Advice

Recommendation for 2016-2018

No directed fishery.
Management Objectives

No explicit management plan or management objectives defined by Fisheries Commission. General convention objectives (GC Doc. 08-03) are applied. Advice is based on qualitative evaluation of biomass indices in relation to historic levels.

Stock definition for management purposes

The capelin stock is distributed in Div. 3NO, mainly on the Grand Bank.
Source of information
Report of the Meeting, 29 May -11 June, 2015 - SCS Doc. 15/12 Click to open
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