Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Northeast Atlantic Pelagic redfish fisheries in the Norwegian sea
Fishery  Fact Sheet
Management report 2009
Northeast Atlantic Pelagic redfish fisheries in the Norwegian sea
Fact Sheet Citation  
Redfish in ICES Sub-areas I and II
Owned byNorth-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) – more>>

Overview: According to ICES, S. mentella has been taken in areas beyond national jurisdiction as bycatch in the pelagic fishery for blue whiting and herring in the Norwegian Sea for some years. In 2004-2006 this fishery developed further to become a directed and free fishery in 2006. The main distribution of the stock is according to surveys in Norwegian waters. The stock has been strictly regulated in national waters as scientific assessment has assessed the stock to be at a very low level. In 2006 NEAFC established an overall TAC for 2007 of 15,500 tonnes and a fishing ban until 31 August.
Year TAC1 Landings2
Regulatory Area Regulatory Area
2005 n/a
2006 n/a
2007 15.5 13.5
1. Total Allowable Catch limits (TAC) adopted by NEAFC for the Regulatory Area 2. Landings (Unit: 1000 tonnes) Source 1999/2003NEAFC provisional monthly reporting.

Location of Northeast Atlantic Pelagic redfish fisheries in the Norwegian sea

Geographic reference:  Northeast Atlantic
Spatial Scale: Regional
Reference year: 2009
Approach: Fishery Management Unit

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
Mandate: Management; Monitoring;

Area of Competence: NEAFC Convention Area
Maritime Area: High seas

Harvested Resource
Target Species: Beaked redfish
Fishery Area: Norwegian sea; Barents Sea (Subarea 27.1); Norwegian Sea, …

Harvested Resource
Type of production system: Industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate; Polar.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geo References for: Norwegian sea
Fleet segment
In 2007, eleven countries and more than 40 trawlers were involved in this fishery and catches in 2006 reached about 40,000 tonnes.
15 August-30 November 2010
Management unit: Yes

The fishery is regulated under NEAFC jurisdictional framework / management regime.

A detailed history of management is found in Appendix II in the Report of the NEAFC Performance Review (NEAFC 2006).
Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
Mandate: Management; Monitoring; Control and surveillance.  
Area of Competence: NEAFC Convention Area
Maritime Area: High seas.  
NEAFC Regulatory Area. Based on NEAFC VMS database. Prepared by Dr Jason Hall-Spencer.

ICES Sub-divisions I and II
Related Fisheries - Management system
This fishery is managed as part of the management system described in Northeast Atlantic NEAFC high seas fisheries.
Status of Management
Assessment Summary
According to Vinnichenko (WD 9, AFWG 2007), the length of redfish collected from pelagic waters of the Norwegian Sea from 1979-2006 (collected with trawls with 20-135 mm mesh size in codend) shows lengths from 20 cm to nearly 50 cm, mostly mature fish (95%) of 32-38 cm and 0.5-0.7 kg. Recently, however, few fish less than 30cm have been observed. In summer the catches have, as a rule, been dominated by females in number, in autumn the sex ratio has usually been 1:1. Germany, Norway, Poland, Russia and Spain report of 59-65% males in their 2007 catches.

Length distributions of the commercial pelagic catches of S. mentella in the Norwegian Sea outside EEZ in ICES Sub-areas IIa and IIb in 2007 are shown in Figure 6.9. Similar, length-distributions of the commercial demersal by-catches (no directed fishery allowed, maximum 15% by-catch) inside EEZ in ICES Sub-areas IIa and IIb are shown in Figure 6.10. All length-distributions seem to be rather similar.

Due to the slow growth of adult redfish a rather narrow length distribution may contain several age- and year-classes, and this is clearly seen from the age distributions based on otolith readings by Poland and Norway in 2007 (Figure 6.11).

Similar results were presented from the 2006 fishery in last year’s WG report. The independent age readings by the two countries show the same age composition, i.e., that the bulk of the pelagic S. mentella catches in 2007 (as in 2006) were composed of the 1990-1992 and older year-classes, even more than 40 years old specimens. Figure 6.12 compares the age composition outside (pelagic) and inside (demersal) the EEZ showing a rather similar age and year-class composition. Norwegian age samples of S. mentella from pelagic catches during the research survey inside the EEZ show similar age composition.
Resources Assessed
Assessment advice provided by ICES: Beaked redfish - Barents and Norwegian Seas
Negotiation Process
At NEAFC’s Annual Meeting in November 2009, the Norwegian representative reported that they had met with the Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Russian Federation in mid-October. The ICES advice for 2010 was discussed, but the advice was as earlier that no direct fishery should take place and bycatch be kept at a minimum.
Management Resolutions
In November 2009 at NEAFC’s Annual Meeting Norway pointed out that ICES reports that the redfish stocks in ICES Sub-areas I and II are depleted and may be in danger of collapse. The ICES advice is that targeted fishery should not be permitted to continue. Norway regretted that, in spite of this clear advice, other Contracting Parties ignore it and refuse to act responsibly and thus severely threaten the rebuilding of this stock. Iceland associated itself with the Norwegian statement.

The EU, the Russian Federation and Denmark (in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland), voted in favour, Iceland and Norway abstained. The proposal carried. (Annex H of the report of NEAFC’s Annual Meeting).
Management Regime
Management Methods


    • Effort control: This fishery is regulated by over all TACs and there is no agreement on allocations. In the Norwegian Sea NEAFC Secretariat cumulates the daily catch report form the participating vessels of from all Contracting Parties and stops the fishery when the overall TAC is reached.


    • The fishery is monitored and controlled according to "The NEAFC Joint Scheme of Control and Enforcement", as introduced in the Northeast Atlantic NEAFC high seas fisheries.

    • Catch control: Contracting Parties shall be permitted to fish for a quantity of 8,600 tonnes within the period 15 August to 30 November 2010.

      A special monitoring system shall be established on the basis of catches reported in accordance with the provisions of Article 12 of the NEAFC Scheme of Control and Enforcement. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 12, vessels engaged in this fishery shall report their catch on a daily basis. The Secretary shall be responsible for the coordination of this monitoring system. The Secretary shall notify all Contracting Parties without delay and by the most rapid means possible when the total catches have reached 80% of the allowable catch. Furthermore, the Secretary shall notify all Contracting Parties of the date on which:

      1. The accumulated reported catch;
      2. The estimated catch not yet reported;
      3. The estimated remaining quantity of the allowable catch;
      4. The likely by-catches taken during the period for which the catch limitation applies equal the allowable catch provided for under point 1 (above) .

Source of Information
NEAFC Secratariat “NEAFC Annual Meeting report” 2009 Click to open North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission. “NEAFC Fisheries Status Report 1998-2007” 2009 Click to open
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