Iceland has revised the fishing advice for capelin to 21800 tonnes after survey results
The fishing advice for capelin this winter has been revised based on results from last week’s Icelandic Marine Institute survey which was commissioned by the Icelandic government.
The outcome of the survey led to the decision to revise previous advice from October which advised no catch and the Icelandic fleet will now be able to fish for 21,800 of capelin in the new year.
In the autumn of 2019, an initial catch limit of 170,000 tonnes was issued for the winter season, but it was withdrawn in the autumn of 2020 based on forecasts for capelin stocks.
The advice will be re-evaluated when the results of measurements at the beginning of 2021 based on the size of the fish stock that are available. There were no capelin catches inshore this year and last, but in 2018 a total of 287,000 tonnes of capelin were caught.
The results of the expedition are based on an extensive survey in the Greenland Channel and north of Iceland. Sea ice in the Greenland Channel significantly blocked passage there, but capelin was found close to the sea ice. This could be an underestimation of the size of the stock. The mature development of capelin was found a short distance east of Kolbeinsey ridge, which is a more easterly distribution than in recent years, says a report on the advice on the MRI’s website.
According to an acoustic survey in December 2020, the SSB is estimated 487 000 tonnes. The harvest control rule (HCR) aims at leaving with 95% probability at least 150 000 tonnes (Blim) of mature capelin at the time of spawning in March when accounting for predation. Model projections show that with maximum catch of 21 800 tonnes the HCR expectations will be achieved.
Capelin fishery was neither conducted in the 2019/2020 fishing season nor in the first half of the 2020/2021 season.
According to the agreements, Norway and the Faroe Islands are entitled to catch quotas from Iceland’s quotas, which far exceed this advice, according to information from Þorsteinn Sigurðsson, an expert at the Ministry of Industry.
According to tripartite agreements, Greenland owns 15% of the capelin quota with Iceland and Norway 5%. Iceland’s 80% share of that agreement is therefore 17,440 tonnes based on the recommended catch. The share of the Faroe Islands is 5% of the total quota according to the fishing agreement between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and is deducted from the permits of Icelandic vessels, or about 1,080 tonnes based on the advice.
Provisions in the so-called Smuggling Agreement between Iceland and Norway weigh the most. According to him, Norwegians are allowed to catch 25,600 tonnes of capelin annually in Iceland against Icelandic cod fishing in the Barents Sea. Due to the capelin shortage in Iceland for the past two years, Icelanders were in debt to Norway. Negotiations are underway with those where there was no capelin fishing in Iceland this year, according to information from Þorsteinn. (mbl.is)