The Norwegian sandeel fishery quota for 2023 will remain at 60,00 tonnes
Norwegian fisheries researchers have recommended that the final quota for sandeel in 2023 will be 60,000 tonnes, as set in the preliminary advice.
The researchers at Havforskningen say that poorer recruitment levels than expected means that they recommend keeping the preliminary advice as the final advice for 2023.
In turn, this means the 2023 sandeel fishery in the North Sea is over, according to Roar Bjånesøy of Norges Sildesalgslag.
On the recent trip, the researchers found very few one-year-old sandeel. In addition, there were critically few fish on the English Klondyke and on the sandeel field to the north (areas 4 and 5 on the map).
“Recruitment has been worse than expected based on the scraping trip this winter,” says researcher and trip leader Espen Johnsen.
“In the south of the Norwegian zone, the sandeel is spread out and there is a lot of predation, i.e. predatory fish such as whiting and haddock that feed,” says Johnsen.
“Predation need not be bad – it may indicate that the sandeel fulfils its function in the ecosystem,” he explains.
He believes that there is markedly more life in the sea at the sandeel field now than before. The bycatch is quite a problem for the sandeel fishermen, who are struggling to catch the fish this year.
On the trip, the researchers also measured the weight of the fish. The one-year-olds were of normal weight, while the older fish were somewhat below average.
“This may indicate that there has been a decent supply of food recently, but perhaps a little too little over a longer period,” says Johnsen.
The researchers are working on the technical cruise report.