The annual Icelandic pelagic ecosystem summer survey has shown that Iceland has strong mackerel resources in their territorial waters. Photo: Hafrannsóknastofnun

The annual Icelandic pelagic ecosystem summer survey has shown that Iceland has strong mackerel resources in their territorial waters. Photo: Hafrannsóknastofnun

The Icelandic Marine Institute, Hafrannsóknastofnun, says that results from a recent research expedition have shown that Iceland has strong mackerel resources in their territorial waters.

This is in contradiction to claims made by Norwegian fishing magazine, Fiskeribladet, who earlier claimed that mackerel stocks in Icelandic territorial waters were in crisis and that the large fleet of pelagic vessels are now relying on catching their quotas in international waters.

Iceland had hit back at the claims with Icelandic newspaper mbl.is saying, “The Norwegians have used it as an argument against Iceland’s demand for a 16.5% share in the fishing.”

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The annual pelagic ecosystem summer survey conducted by Hafrannsóknastofnun has finished and the results show an increase in mackerel with the largest distribution to the west of the country.

In their report Hafrannsóknastofnun writes:

“The research vessel Árni Friðriksson completed its participation in the annual pelagic ecosystem summer survey in the Nordic Seas (IESSNS, International Ecosystem Summer Survey in the Nordic Seas) on July 21. During this 18-day expedition of Árna around the country, 48 tug stations were taken and 3,800 nautical miles or 7,000 km were sailed. Sea measurements were then taken and measurements were taken at all surface towing stations.

“The distribution and density of mackerel, herring and char in the Icelandic territorial waters was studied, with the exception of its eastern part, which was studied by the Faroese and Norwegians. Preliminary results show that the quantity and distribution of mackerel in Icelandic territorial waters is much greater than in the past two summers, see figure. Mackerel was found along the south and west coast of the country, both on and off the continental shelf. To the south, mackerel were found in the Deep of Iceland south to 62 °N latitude, but mackerel have not been caught this far south on this expedition since summer 2016. Preliminary results from the Norwegian and Faroese research vessels showed that mackerel were also found east of land.

“As in previous years, Norwegian-Icelandic spring spawning herring were found at most of the tow stations in the north and east of the country, and Icelandic summer spawning herring on the continental shelf in the south and west of the country. Puberty of the cod was measured at the edge of the continental shelf to the south and west of the country. The amount and distribution of roe kelps was lower this year than in previous years. A total of 64 roe were tagged during the expedition.

“Preliminary results show that surface layer temperatures were similar to summer 2021 and slightly warmer than summer 2020.

“Data from the six ships that participated in the expedition will be compiled and analyzed from mid-August and the results will be presented towards the end of August.

“Distribution and density of mackerel, herring and roe (red filled circles) together with temperature in the surface layer of the sea (10 m depth). Surface tug stations with no catches of the respective species are marked with a blue dot. Note that the density scale varies between species.”

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Icelandic annual pelagic ecosystem summer survey shows strong mackerel stocks

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