No TAC recommended for capelin during the 2019/2020 season

No TAC recommended for capelin during the 2019/2020 season

Acoustic measurements of the capelin stock were undertaken by R/V Árni Friðriksson and EROS during 12th September – 21st October 2019 with the objectives of estimating the size of the fishable capelin stock as well as the size of young and immature capelin.

The survey area was on and along the shelf edge off East Greenland from about 75°00´N to about 64°´ N, on the East Greenland shelf, in the Greenland Strait, Iceland Sea, West of Jan Mayen and the slope off western and north Iceland (Figure 1).


Figure 1.  Routes of the research vessels; Arni Fridriksson (blue) and Eros (green).

Capelin was observed over a wide area (Figure 2). Immature capelin was generally found in the southwestern part of the surveyed area but further north maturing capelin predominated with highest concentration east of Scoresby. The distribution of capelin was westerly as in recent years although it was not found as far north as in previous years with no registrations north of 71°30’N.

distribution of capelin

Figure 2.  Distribution of capelin in September-October 2019.

The total biomass estimate was 795 000 tonnes of which 186 000 tonnes were maturing capelin, age 2 and older. Significant numbers of juveniles were however found and amounted to 83 billion individuals or 608 000 tonnes.  According to the adopted harvest control rule, over 50 billion individuals are needed to recommend initial TAC for the 2020/2021 fishing season.  Data on the juvenile measurements will be scrutinized by ICES which gives advice on the initial TAC on November 29th.

The adopted harvest control rule is based on leaving at least 150 000 tonnes for spawning with more than 95% probability. Based on the results of the above mentioned survey and according to the adopted harvest control rule, there will be no TAC set for the fishing season 2019/2020.

The Marine Research Institute will measure the spawning stock of capelin again in January/February 2020. Based on the outcome of the winter survey TAC recommendations will be revised.

More details of the outcome can be found at the MFRI website;

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