Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2021
Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Fact Sheet Citation  
Capelin in Div. 3NO
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Capelin, fr - Capelan, es - Capelán, zh - 毛鳞鱼, ru - Мойва
ident Block Capelin - Southern Grand Bank
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes         Value: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2020
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGray
Aq Res State TrendUnknown 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 Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Neritic.   Vertical Dist: Pelagic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: Straddling between High Seas and EEZ

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: Yes

Capelin has been fished in a directed trawl fishery. There is low bycatch in other trawl fisheries. The directed fishery was closed in 1992 and the closure has continued through 2020. No catches have been reported for this stock from 1993 except one tonne of Spanish catch in 2014 and five tonnes Estonian catch in 2016.

Recent catch estimates and TACs (t) are as follows:

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

No fishery.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

Not defined.

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

Assessment was based on evaluation of trends in acoustic survey data (1975 – 1994) and bottom trawl surveys (1996 – 2019: upper right figure – Canadian spring surveys biomass index; 1985 – 2019: lower right figure – Canadian spring surveys mean catch). Bottom-trawling is not a satisfactory basis for a stock assessment of a pelagic species. The assessment is only sensitive to large-scale fluctuations in biomass and abundance. Therefore, although the next full assessment is in principle scheduled for 2024, SC recommends that this stock be monitored in future by interim monitoring reports only, until such time conditions change to warrant a full assessment.


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. The Grand Bank (3LNO) EPU is currently experiencing low productivity conditions and biomass has declined across multiple trophic levels and stocks since 2014.

Sci Advice

Special comments

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


Recommendation for 2022-2024

No directed fishery.

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 Divs. 3NO, mainly on the Grand Bank.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Scientific Council Documents. SRC Doc. 21/029 and SCS Doc. 21/06. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2021. Report of the Scientific Council, 27 May-11 June 2021. NAFO SCS Doc. 21/14Rev. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2008. Resolution on the Interpretation and Implementation of the Convention on the Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. 30th Annual Meeting – September 2008. NAFO/GC Doc. 08/3. Click to open
powered by FIGIS  © FAO, 2024
Powered by FIGIS