Stock of Northeast Arctic cod (Gadus morhua)
The spawning stock of the Northeast Arctic cod is at a high level. The Northeast Arctic cod is the largest cod stock in the world.
What is being monitored?
Cite these dataInstitute of Marine Research (2022). Stock of Northeast Arctic cod in the Barents Sea. Environmental monitoring of Svalbard and Jan Mayen (MOSJ). URL: http://www.mosj.no/en/fauna/marine/northeast-arctic-cod.html
|Recruits||106||Institute of Marine Research||2972||2480||2562||2295||2254||3214||3648||3694||3801||3217||3044||2600||2154||2293||1969||1967||1865||1796||1307||1344||2093||2600||3066||2680||1925||1327||1255||1946||2029||1961||1776||1601||1361||957||744||803||430||437||588||812||1246||1128||817||717||604||706||885||1501||1547||1319||1147||997||975||927||972||1096||1074||1110||902||939||959||1217||1829||2074||2086||1763||1624||1484||1328||1572||1492||1402||1344||1300||1241||1219||1074|
|Spawning stock||106 tonn||Institute of Marine Research||951||903||785||595||536||495||489||412||408||328||282||212||205||434||384||386||315||216||201||108||121||129||223||149||242||331||353||334||159||133||167||336||228||180||108||161||321||311||244||195||164||115||191||237||301||632||802||701||572||534||551||545||386||281||256||383||521||571||666||579||584||651||722||1012||1244||1806||2027||2263||2160||1759||1417||1439||1298||1239||1014||902||681|
The SAM (State-space Assessment Model, see Nielsen and Berg 2014), a standard method used by ICES, is used to calculate the size of the cod stock. In addition to the catch statistics (the number of fish caught in the various age groups), the calculations include 4 series of abundance indices (relative measurements) from research cruises. The cruise indices constitute the bottom trawl index from the Norwegian-Russian cruise in the Barents Sea in February, and a combination of the acoustic index from this cruise and the acoustic index from spawning stock investigations in the Lofoten area in March-April. The bottom trawl index from the Russian cruise in the Barents Sea in November–December and from the Norwegian-Russian ecosystem cruise in August-September is also included. Cannibalism (the number of cod eaten by cod) is also included in the calculations.
The extent of the Northeast Arctic cod stock expanded in the warm period after 2004. Basis for the data both from research cruises and the fisheries is influenced by this. This has probably contributed to an increased uncertainty in stock estimations.
Reference level and action level
The reference level is the precautionary limit for the spawning stock: 460 000 tonnes.
Action level for the spawning stock is: 460 000 tonnes.
Status and trend
Both the total stock and the spawning stock have grown since 2006 and peaked in 2013.
Since then, there has been a decline, but both the total stock and the spawning stock is still well above the long-term average for 1946-2020.
The spawning stock in 2021 was estimated to be 900,000 tonnes. This is far above the action limit set by fisheries management. The spawning stock is important to ensure good recruitment.
The size of the cod stock is affected both by natural conditions such as sea temperature and presence of predators, as well as human influence. Fishing is the most significant impact.
The agreed quota for 20222 is 708,480 tonnes. This is identical with the advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which is based on the revised catch rule for 2016.
The total international catch in 2020 was 693,000 tonnes. The Norwegian catch was 289,000 tonnes. The fishery in 2020 was considered sustainable.
Other cod fishing nations are ranked as follows: Russia, The Faroe Islands, Great Britain, Spain, Iceland, Greenland, Germany, France, Poland, Portugal, Belarus and Estonia.
About 70% of the annual catch is caught by bottom trawls, the rest with nets, lines, seine nets and jigging.
In its recommendation concerning the quota for 2022, ICES classified the stock as having good reproductive capacity and being harvested sustainably. The size of the spawning stock has been above the precautionary level since 2002.
Fish mortality has been substantially reduced from well above the critical level in 1999 to below the precautionary level as of 2008. The last years it has increased again and in 2020 it was just above the precautionary level.
Low fishing pressure has helped to keep the stock at a high level, and additionally, good access to food and relatively high temperatures have contributed to several years of good stocks of cod and haddock in the Barents Sea.
In previous years, a rise in temperature has given the fish a larger habitat and increased access to food. But in recent years, the distribution area in the Barents Sea has been reduced. This is due to both lower sea temperatures and a decline in the stock.
About the monitoring
The indicator aims at presenting the size of the spawning stock of Northeast Arctic cod in the Barents Sea over time. The stock is monitored by Norwegian (www.imr.no) and Russian (www.pinro.ru) institutes of marine research. The estimations of spawning stock size are conducted once every year and is based on historical catch data and data from research cruises.
Norwegian and Russian institutes of marine research contribute through the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), giving advice to the Norwegian-Russian Fishery Commission on management of the stock of Northeast Arctic cod in the Barents Sea.
Places and areas
Relations to other monitoring
- Monitoring programme
- International environmental agreements
- Voluntary international cooperation
- Related monitoring