Habitat and Biology
Depth zone: Shelf (50 m - 200 m). Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.
Jurisdictional distribution: Shared between nations
Considered a single stock: Yes
Cod is a target species caught in a mixed fishery together with haddock and saithe. In coastal areas, Northeast Arctic cod and coastal cod are caught in the same fishery during parts of the year. Redfish (both Sebastes mentella
and S. marinus
) are caught as bycatch in the cod fishery. TAC regulations are in place. Unreported catches have decreased in the recent years and were close to zero in 2009–2011. Discarding is illegal in Norway and Russia. Data on discarding are scarce, but attempts to obtain better quantification continue. The fisheries are controlled by inspections at sea by a requirement to report to catch control points when entering and leaving the EEZs to land fish, and by VMS satellite tracking for some fleets.
Effects of the fisheries on the ecosystem
||Total landings (2011) are 720 kt (70% demersal trawls and 30% other gear types).
Fisheries of cod in the Barents Sea do not only influence the targeted stock. Because of strong species interactions the removal of cod, which is an important predator in the ecosystem, by fisheries influences the abundance of prey stocks such as capelin, haddock, and redfish.
ICES advises on the basis of the Joint Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Commission management plan that catches in 2013 should be no more than 940 000 t. Coastal cod and Sebastes marinus
bycatches should be kept as low as possible.
Overall Assessment Results
|Figure 22.214.171.124 Cod in Subareas I and II. Summary of stock assessment (weights in thousand tonnes). Top right: SSB/F for the time-series used in the assessment. |
Assessment ModelQuality consideration
The uncertainties in this assessment relate both to catch and survey data. Unreported catches (Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU)) have been a problem in recent years, but do not affect the data collected in 2009–2011. Due to technical problems with a Norwegian survey vessel the spatial coverage in the 2012 Joint winter survey was incomplete.
Norwegian sampling of commercial catches is believed to be less precise because of the termination of a Norwegian port sampling programme in mid-2009. The poor sampling caused problems in estimating Norwegian catches for the oldest ages in 2010. A small Norwegian port sampling programme from 2011 and onwards and an expansion of the high seas reference fleet has improved the situation somewhat. But there is still a lack of samples from certain gears and areas and the working group recommends an increase in port sampling effort.
Russian sampling of commercial catches has also shown a declining trend.
|Figure 126.96.36.199 Cod in Subareas I and II. Historical performance of the assessment (final-year estimates included). |
||Age-based analytical assessment (XSA) with cannibalism included.
||Three survey indices: Joint bottom trawl survey Barents Sea, Feb–Mar (BS-NoRu-Q1 (BTr)); Joint acoustic survey Barents Sea and Lofoten, Feb–Mar (BS-NoRu-Q1 (Aco));
Russian bottom trawl survey, Oct–Dec (RU-BTr-Q4).
One commercial cpue index; data from the Russian trawl fisheries.
|Discards and bycatch
||Discards are not accounted for. Bycatch of undersized cod in shrimp fisheries is unknown but believed to be minor.
|Working group report
Management unit: YesManagement plans
A management plan has been implemented since 2004 (Annex 3.4.1) with the objectives of maintaining high long-term yield, year-to-year stability of landings, and full utilization of all available information on stock dynamics. The plan was evaluated in 2010 and ICES considers that it is to be in accordance with the precautionary approach and not in contradiction to the MSY framework. At the 2010 meeting of the Joint Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Commission it was agreed that the plan will be in force until 2015.Environmental influence on the stock
Among the factors influencing cod growth and recruitment are water temperature, food supply, and cod population abundance. Environmental drivers were used to estimate recruitment and temperature to estimate cod cannibalism. Changes in growth, maturity, and cod cannibalism are linked to the abundance of capelin. This linkage appears to be less pronounced in the recent period compared to the 1980s and 1990s. Capelin abundance is at present intermediate. The distribution area of cod has expanded northwards and eastwards in recent years, and is now the widest ever reported (north to 80°N and east to 56°E during the ecosystem survey in August–September).
Biological State and Trend
|Figure 188.8.131.52 |
The SSB has been above MSY Btrigger
since 2002 and is now record high. The total stock biomass is close to the highest observed. Fishing mortality was reduced from well above Flim
in 1997 to below FMSY
in 2007 and is now close to its lowest value. Surveys indicate that year classes 2009–2011 are above average.
Source of information
The above excerpts are from the first two pages of the ICES advice, the supporting information to this advice can be read in full at the following reference:
ICES. Cod in Subareas I and II (Northeast Arctic cod). Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2012. ICES Advice, June 2012. http://www.ices.dk/committe/acom/comwork/report/2012/2012/Cod-arct.pdf