NWWAC directed fishing Norwegian Waters Abundance Haddock

Norwegian skippers have been surprised by the abundance of haddock in the country’s waters

Norwegian fishermen are reporting an unexpected surge in haddock numbers this season, with some describing it as an unprecedented phenomenon.

Pål Roaldsnes, skipper of the trawler Synes, expressed his astonishment, saying, “We’ve never seen so much haddock before.”

The haddock quota for Roaldsnes’s trawler is nearly exhausted, signaling a successful season characterised by abundant catches stretching from Røst and beyond. However, with the quota nearing depletion, the remaining haddock must be conserved as bycatch for later use.

Roaldsnes highlighted a potential concern, stating, “If haddock begins to mix with the cod, we’ll have a problem. So, we need to have some buffer in case there’s significant cod bycatch.”

Observations reveal not only large quantities of haddock but also multiple age classes, indicating healthy fish conditions. Synes is not the only vessel experiencing a prosperous haddock fishery this year. The trawler fleet has largely exhausted its haddock quotas, much earlier than usual.

This year, both cod and haddock quotas have been reduced by 20 percent due to scientists’ assessment of declining stock levels. However, Roaldsnes questions whether researchers are surveying the right areas, as their findings do not align with fishermen’s observations.

“It seems that researchers, through their spawning surveys, are not capturing these changes occurring,” Roaldsnes remarked. “They measure at specific points each year and therefore do not capture if the fish have moved and spawned elsewhere. Now we see significant amounts of spawning cod on Tromsøflaket, something we haven’t seen before.”

Meanwhile, Egil Skarbøvik, skipper of the trawler Ramoen, currently fishing for cod on Tromsøflaket, also acknowledged the haddock abundance but exercised caution compared to Roaldsnes.

“There has been good access to haddock, earlier than normal,” Skarbøvik noted. “I would be a bit cautious and say that we don’t see a decline yet, so it may indicate that the stock has stabilised and the decline has halted.”

Skarbøvik pointed out that previously, haddock fishing was concentrated around Bjørnøya, but that stock has declined. “Now it seems that fish are coming from the Russian zone, far east in the Barents Sea, where it is being fished,” he said. “This fish migrates to the Norwegian coast to spawn. This also aligns well with the fact that the longline fleet earlier this winter had a very good haddock fishery in the Russian zone.”

the fishing daily advertise with us
the fishing daily advertise with us
the fishing daily advertise with us
Follow The Fishing Daily