Greenland and EC established an agreement on offshore fisheries valid from 2007 to 2012. A variable TAC regulation has been agreed, with annual TACs adjusted to take account of ICES information on stock trends but aiming at fishing mortalities at 0.1. The agreement also provides for a transfer of unutilized quota into future years, should a rapid increase in the stock occur.
The management agreement between EC and Greenland has not been evaluated by ICES.
Management AdviceManagement considerations
A multi-annual management plan should include monitoring the trajectory of the stock, clearly stating specified reopening criteria, and monitoring the fishery when it is reopened.
Cod in Greenland derives from three stock components, labeled by their spawning areas: I) an offshore Greenland spawning stock, II) inshore West Greenland fiords spawning populations, and III) Icelandic spawned cod that drift to Greenland with the Irminger Current. It is not feasible to sample and assess stock status of the various stock components separately, and they are therefore assessed together.
In the last century, particularly prior to WWII large immigration of adult cod from Greenland to Icelandic waters are suspected to have occurred based on results from tagging returns. Based on catch at age data attempts have been made to estimate these immigrations in the current assessment that commences in 1955. High abundance of larvae in East Greenland waters in years where recruitments has been high in Iceland indicate that some of these year classes have originated from spawning in Iceland. Based on the present status of cod stocks in Greenland, no substantial immigration to Iceland can be expected in the near future. It is, however, possible that the moderate 2003 year class presently found in Greenland waters could originate from Icelandic waters.
The offshore Greenland spawning grounds have not been exploited in the past 15 years. Surveys and exploratory fishery now suggest dense concentrations of large spawning cod in East Greenland. The size of the current spawning area is limited compared to the spawning grounds observed historically. Productivity in the offshore area have improved since the end of the 1990s although it is still low compared to the productivity before the stock was depleted. The size of the relatively strong 2003 year class is estimated at around 25% of the last really strong year class (1984) and shows the characteristics usually associated with cod that have drifted from Iceland (associations with haddock of the same age and a southern distribution). The proportion of the Greenland offshore cod stock that originates from the Icelandic stock is not known.
Inshore spawning occurs in many West Greenland fiords and recruitment has increased in recent years in the areas surveyed (Figure 22.214.171.124). Recruitment is now well above the lows observed in the late 1990s. The landings by the coastal fleet component have increased by a factor of ten over the last decade.