Increase in capelin advice announced in the coming days

The survey tracks of Árni Friðriksson during 12-21 February 2023 and location of sea ice northwest o… The survey tracks of Árni Friðriksson during 12-21 February 2023 and location of sea ice northwest of Iceland

In the capelin winter survey in January this year, the coverage was restricted by sea ice northwest of Iceland. When the resulting catch advice was presented, the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI) announced that another survey would be undertaken to cover that area to see if unquantified capelin had entered the area in the meantime.

The research vessel Árni Friðriksson conducted this research in the period 12-21 February. Results from that survey are not worked up yet and new catch advice for the 2022/2023 fishing season will therefore not be ready until next week. Considering the fact that the current fishing season is approaching the end, MFRI is announcing right away that a considerable amount of capelin was measured on the continental shelf north of Húnaflói, that had not entered in that area covered in the January measurement. It is foreseeable that the results will lead to an increase in the TAC advice for the fishing season 2022/2023. Preliminary estimation indicates more than 100 thousands tonnes increase in the advised catches.

The capelin in this area were at age 3-4 and was relatively close to spawning, with 16% gonad fullness in the southernmost area and 12% further north. It is MFRI opinion that this capelin is likely to spawn in that area. With precautionary principles in mind, MFRI recommends that the majority of additional advised catches will be taken in that area. Diverting some fishing effort from capelin spawning south and west of Iceland, might contribute to protection of biological diversity within the stock and decrease potential negative impacts of the fishery on the recruitment. In other words, MFRI recommends that the capelin fishery reflects to some degree the distribution of the stock on different spawning grounds.

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