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Profile updated on 17 September 2019

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Melanogrammus aeglefinus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Haddock

COMMON NAMES

Barents Sea haddock, Northeast Arctic haddock, NE Arctic haddock, Norwegian-Russian haddock

Haddock in the Northeast Arctic is considered as a single stock (Giæver and Forthun 1999)(Olsen et al. 2010) and ICES assesses this unit yearly. Saithe and haddock are mainly bycaught in the cod fishery but there is also a target fishery (ICES 2019).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • The stock assessment process incorporates many best practices features.
  • The stock is in full reproductive capacity, remaining well above the biomass target reference point despite the decreasing trend.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated catches from 2009-2014 are considered to be negligible.
  • There are several management measures in place: spatial, temporal and closures for the protection of juveniles; technical measures in the fishing measures and also control measures. Some are harmonized within Russian and Norwegian EEZ waters.
  • Previous concerns with the interaction of the Russian longline fleet with wolffish are currently addressed.
  • The project MAREANO and other annual trawl ecosystem surveys have been providing a deeper knowledge of the Barents Sea ecoregion, which is considered as one of the best-known ecosystems in the world. Sensitive species and habitats’ composition have been determined spatially. Some sensitive areas and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems are identified.
  • Longlines, hooks and lines and gillnets are considered to not cause irreversible harm to the seabed habitat, in temporal and spatial terms.
Weaknesses
  • The reliability of the assessment may be compromised by what is shown in the stock spawning retrospective pattern, by the unknown levels of discarding and use of data from only one survey conducted during Winter 2019. 
  • Fishing mortality has been increasing and is currently above the MSY target.
  • 2019 catch limit is set above the scientific advice and is not according to the harvest control rule. Previous' years quota transfers have been above what is advised by ICES.
  • Discarding is forbidden but quantitative data is not available and assumed to be negligible in recent years.
  • There is bycatch of depleted species, such as golden redfish, of particular concern; this fishery, targeting both cod and haddock, is estimated to contribute to a significant share of total golden redfish catches, especially by trawls, and considered by ICES to be far above any sustainable catch level.
  • Limitations are found on the quantitative determination, monitoring and analysis of the impact of the different operating gears on retained species (to know if they are within biologically-based limits) and on sensitive habitats. 
  • A comprehensive strategy to manage the interactions of the fishery with the ecosystem elements is lacking.  

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

Managers Compliance:

7.9

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

7.7


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Monitor the performance of the fishery and its management to ensure the fishery continues to be eligible for condition-free MSC re-certification.
  • Contact decision-makers and request that benchmark stock assessments for both cod and haddock be conducted in 2020, including addressing retrospective patterns for haddock. 
  • Make urgent further efforts (e.g. via additional technical conservation measures as described here) to substantially reduce the bycatch of golden redfish and coastal cod.
  • Implement an at-sea monitoring programme to improve data on bycatch, especially endangered, threatened and protected species interactions, and implement a comprehensive strategy to evaluate and manage cumulative impacts of the different gear types in this fishery on all types of bycatch
  • Participate in the ongoing efforts to investigate impacts of bottom trawls on the soft-bottom habitat of the Barents Sea and promote the use of new information to develop a comprehensive strategy for protecting all types of vulnerable marine ecosystems throughout the current and expected geographic extent of the fishery.
  • Press regulators to set catch limits in line with scientific advice and the agreed harvest control rule.

    FIPS

    No related FIPs

    CERTIFICATIONS

    • FIUN Barents & Norwegian Seas cod and haddock:

      MSC Recertified

    • Barents Sea cod, haddock and saithe:

      MSC Recertified

    • Russian Federation Barents sea cod and haddock:

      MSC Recertified

    • Arkhangelsk Trawl fleet Norwegian & Barents Seas cod, haddock & saithe:

      MSC Certified

    Fisheries

    Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

    ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
    Barents Sea Norway/Russia Faroe Islands Bottom trawls
    France Single boat bottom otter trawls
    Germany Single boat bottom otter trawls
    Greenland Bottom trawls
    Iceland Single boat bottom otter trawls
    Norway Bottom trawls
    Danish seines
    Gillnets and entangling nets
    Hooks and lines
    Longlines
    Russian Federation Bottom trawls
    Longlines
    United Kingdom Single boat bottom otter trawls

    Analysis

    OVERVIEW

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    Strengths
    • The stock assessment process incorporates many best practices features.
    • The stock is in full reproductive capacity, remaining well above the biomass target reference point despite the decreasing trend.
    • Illegal, unreported and unregulated catches from 2009-2014 are considered to be negligible.
    • There are several management measures in place: spatial, temporal and closures for the protection of juveniles; technical measures in the fishing measures and also control measures. Some are harmonized within Russian and Norwegian EEZ waters.
    • Previous concerns with the interaction of the Russian longline fleet with wolffish are currently addressed.
    • The project MAREANO and other annual trawl ecosystem surveys have been providing a deeper knowledge of the Barents Sea ecoregion, which is considered as one of the best-known ecosystems in the world. Sensitive species and habitats’ composition have been determined spatially. Some sensitive areas and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems are identified.
    • Longlines, hooks and lines and gillnets are considered to not cause irreversible harm to the seabed habitat, in temporal and spatial terms.
    Weaknesses
    • The reliability of the assessment may be compromised by what is shown in the stock spawning retrospective pattern, by the unknown levels of discarding and use of data from only one survey conducted during Winter 2019. 
    • Fishing mortality has been increasing and is currently above the MSY target.
    • 2019 catch limit is set above the scientific advice and is not according to the harvest control rule. Previous' years quota transfers have been above what is advised by ICES.
    • Discarding is forbidden but quantitative data is not available and assumed to be negligible in recent years.
    • There is bycatch of depleted species, such as golden redfish, of particular concern; this fishery, targeting both cod and haddock, is estimated to contribute to a significant share of total golden redfish catches, especially by trawls, and considered by ICES to be far above any sustainable catch level.
    • Limitations are found on the quantitative determination, monitoring and analysis of the impact of the different operating gears on retained species (to know if they are within biologically-based limits) and on sensitive habitats. 
    • A comprehensive strategy to manage the interactions of the fishery with the ecosystem elements is lacking.  
    RECOMMENDATIONS

    Last updated on 30 September 2019

    Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
    • Contact decision-makers and request that benchmark stock assessments for both cod and haddock be conducted in 2020, including addressing retrospective patterns for haddock. 
    • Make urgent further efforts (e.g. via additional technical conservation measures as described here) to substantially reduce the bycatch of golden redfish and coastal cod.
    • Implement an at-sea monitoring programme to improve data on bycatch, especially endangered, threatened and protected species interactions, and implement a comprehensive strategy to evaluate and manage cumulative impacts of the different gear types in this fishery on all types of bycatch
    • Participate in the ongoing efforts to investigate impacts of bottom trawls on the soft-bottom habitat of the Barents Sea and promote the use of new information to develop a comprehensive strategy for protecting all types of vulnerable marine ecosystems throughout the current and expected geographic extent of the fishery.
    • Press regulators to set catch limits in line with scientific advice and the agreed harvest control rule.
    Norway/Russia
    Russian Federation
    Bottom trawls

    Last updated on 27 December 2018

    Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
    • Monitor the performance of the fishery and its management to ensure the fishery continues to be eligible for condition-free MSC re-certification.

    1.STOCK STATUS

    STOCK ASSESSMENT

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    Since the last benchmark conducted in 2015, the stock is assessed by ICES conducting an age-based analytical model (State-Space Assessment Model, SAM) that "uses catches in the model and in the forecast". Input data includes commercial landings (international; age and length samples); four survey indices; annual maturity data from surveys and natural mortalities from cod consumption; bycatch data is included. Discarding occurs at negligible levels, at <5% (ICES 2019). Illegal, Unreported and unregulated catches are set to nil (ICES 2019). The reliability of the assessment may be compromised by what is shown in the SSB retrospective pattern, by the unknown levels of discarding and use of data from only one survey conducted during Winter 2019. A benchmark will be conducted preceding the next assessment (ICES 2019).

    SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    ICES’ ACOM (Advisory Committee) issues advice for this fishery. Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and Russia’s Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO) provide much of the basis for the scientific advice, through annual cod surveys and cooperation in data collection and research programmes (Lockwood et al., 2010).

    ICES’ advice for 2020 is predicated on the joint Norwegian-Russian management plan, limiting catches to 215,000 tonnes (ICES 2019). ICES evaluated the management plan and its latter amendment in 2010 – when the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission (JRNFC) decided to use the plan for more 5 years before a next evaluation – and found it to be consistent with the Precautionary Approach (PA) (ICES, 2015a,b). In 2016, the JRNFC requested ICES to evaluate ten alternative HCR (one of which is the existing HCR) and all proposals are considered as precautionary (ICES 2016)(ICES 2016)(ICES 2018)(ICES 2019).

    ICES advised reducing bycatch of coastal cod in the cod advice and mentions that bycatch of golden redfish is "above any sustainable catch level" and that mitigation measures are "essential" to be applied (ICES 2019). Even if the same recommendation is not included in the haddock ICES advice the species is caught in the same fishery, therefore the advice should regard the entire fishery and not only the main species. The coastal cod spawning stock remains below the management target, at minimal levels, and the fishing pressure is "undefined" (ICES 2019). The information about the status and interaction of the fishery with golden redfish can be seen below, under the ETP species narrative section.

    Norway/Russia

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    The partnership between Norway and Russia, under the JCNRFC, has improved all over the years, in terms of species analysed, expanding the scope of the assessments performed to understand the status of various species of the trophic chain (and not only commercial species as in the beginning) and of the ecosystem as a whole. The Ecosystem Approach is now a reality and "major fish stocks in the area are now at a high level". ICES plays an important role too, "in practice functioning as an international peer-review body" and being an intermediary entity "between science and policy" as an advisory committee. Management decisions are much more informed, promoting the sustainable management and use of living marine resources (Hammer and Hoel 2012).

    CURRENT STATUS

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    ICES classifies the stock as in full reproductive capacity, the spawning stock has been decreasing rapidly and is estimated at around 220,000 tonnes in 2019, above Blim and Bpa and as well above MSYtrigger, as since 1989. Fishing mortality F4-7 has been decreasing but recorded a slight uptick in last years, reaching 0.378 in 2018, with estimates now above FMSY = Ftarget = 0.35 but still below the precautionary reference point (=0.47). The stock is being, therefore "harvested sustainably". Year classes of 2004-2006 are among the strongest of the time series and are still dominating the spawning stock. Discards are known to occur and are now assumed to be below 5% (ICES 2019).

    2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

    MANAGEMENT

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    The NE Arctic haddock fishery is managed through a Joint Norwegian-Russian Fishery Commission (JNRFC) management plan (MP), agreed in 2004 and regularly evaluated. The MP includes an HCR aimed at maintaining the set TACs at a level corresponding to FMSY. Between-year variations in the set TAC are limited to ±25% unless SSB drops to values below Bpa (ICES 2016a). The JNRFC decided in 2015 that the HCR can be used in the upcoming 5 years (ICES 2019).

    In 2019, the "JNRFC set aside the HCR and set the TAC to 172 kt so that the reduction in was 15% rather than 25%, and therefore total allowable catch was set 172 kt" (ICES 2019). Catch limits are numerically established above the advice, at 152,000 tonnes, but the JRNFC agreed that since 2015 unused quotas can be transferred among years and countries (ICES 2019)(ICES 2019). In 2019, 11,000 tonnes were transferred, allowing catches to reach to 183,000 tonnes. In 2018, around 12,000 tonnes were transferred apart from the TAC established at 202,305 tonnes (ICES 2019).

    Technical regulations are since 2011 harmonized within Norwegian and Russian Economic Exclusive Zones (EEZ): minimum landing size of 44 cm, maximum of 15% of allowable catch of fish below the minimum size (combined for cod, haddock and saithe in the Norwegian EEZ and cod and haddock in the Russian EEZ). Other regulations consist of mesh size limitations in trawls (130mm) and Danish seine, a real-time closure system for target species juveniles since 1984 (fishing is prohibited in areas where the proportion by the number of undersized cod, haddock, and saithe combined has been observed by inspectors to exceed 15%) and other seasonal and spatial restrictions. Sorting grids are mandatory since 1997 (ICES, 2014a)(Little et al. 2015)(ICES 2019). Under the Norwegian Marine Fisheries Act, all species have to be landed (Gullestad et al. 2015).

    COMPLIANCE

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    Catches have been below the overall TAC, including transfers (ICES 2017)(ICES 2018)(ICES 2019). 2018 landings (preliminarily) at 191,280 tonnes (ICES 2019) were below the TAC set at 202,305 tonnes (Norebo 2018)(ICES 2019). Discards levels are unknown but considered as insignificant (ICES 2019)

    Illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing used to be a problem in the past, reaching 20-25% of total catches (Stokke 2010)(Popov and Zeller 2018) studied the Russian fishery in the Barents Sea during 1950-2014. Until 1977, Russian discards represented 50% of the catch and bottom trawling was identified as the main cause. But this issue is considered as negligible nowadays, mainly since 2009 (Popov and Zeller 2018)(ICES 2019). There are identified gaps with unreliable data on IUU but landings have been generally following the set TAC from 2012 onwards and total catches are assumed to be “very close to officially reported landings” according to the Norwegian-Russian analysis group. It is believed as a result of greater and remarkable cooperation between Russian and Norwegian authorities, as well as EU requirements for catch certification (MFCA, 2010)(Popov and Zeller 2018). Port-state measures under the NEAFC contributed as well to solve the problem (Stokke 2010). Monitoring and enforcement of regulations are conducted through the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) satellite tracking for some fleets, radio checks, inspections at sea and catches' control points while entering and leaving the EEZ (MEP, 2012; ICES, 2014a). An onboard detailed logbook is mandatory for most vessels and the majority of the fleet reports to the authorities on a daily basis (ICES, 2016b). A discarding ban is in place in Norway since 1987 (Gullestad et al. 2015) being still uncertain which measures are in place in Russia (Diamond and Beukers-Stewart 2009)(Popov and Zeller 2018). In 2009 the ban was extended to a number of additional species, dead or dying, that are obliged to be landed (with some exemptions) (Gullestad et al. 2015). Real-time closures, a system implemented in Norway, is a challenge in Russia due to lack of resources (Little et al. 2015).

    3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

    BYCATCH
    ETP Species

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    The major concern regards the interaction of the fishery with golden redfish (Sebastes norvegicus) which is currently classified as an Endangered species by IUCN (Lorance et al. 2015) and by the Norwegian Redlist (Hilmo with Henriksen, S. 2015). Golden redfish multiyear's advice from ICES covers 2017-2019 and the new assessment will only be performed in 2020, so no update or advice is released meanwhile. The stock is considered as in a "poor condition" and "severely depleted", with SSB falling to historical minimums below both biological reference points; fishing pressure is above FMSY. The direct fishery is conditioned, the species is mainly bycaught in this fishery (ICES 2019) and juveniles may be bycaught in the shrimp fishery (ICES 2018). The Russian share increased from 600-900 tonnes between 2001-2016 to 1,834 tonnes in 2018 (preliminary); similarly, Norwegian catches increased comparing to last year, reaching 4,276 tonnes in 2018 (preliminary). Both countries represented 92% of total removals (preliminarily at 6,647 tonnes) in 2018 in subareas 1 and 2 (ICES 2019), while ICES has been advocating since 2011 (ICES 2011) to keep bycatch as low as possible, stating that removals are above any sustainable catch level and that mitigation measures are "essential" to be applied (ICES 2019)(ICES 2019). Even if bycaught in low or even at negligible proportions by each of the MSC certified fleets, not representing therefore individual concerns (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Nichols et al. 2015)(Knapman et al. 2018)(Kiseleva and Nichols 2018)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Lassen and Chaudhury 2018)(Kiseleva et al. 2019), there is no reliable information about the cumulative impacts of all operating fisheries on this ETP species.

    Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is mainly found in the South of the polar front, in coastal waters, and is particularly sensitive to the interaction with static gears due to its biological characteristics (Bjørge et al. 2010). Even if considered as Least Concern at a global scale under the IUCN red list (IUCN 2008), it is under the OSPAR List of threatened and/or declining species and habitats (OSPAR Commission 2009) and the CITES (Appendix II). The status is unknown, the interaction with gillnets is not yet quantified due to unreliable data but extrapolated numbers (based on reference-fleet data) constitute a concern (Nichols et al. 2015)(Bjørge et al. 2013)(NAMMCO 2014)(Nichols et al. 2015)(ICES 2018)(Lassen and Chaudhury 2018).

    Of the remaining species that can be bycaught in the trawl fishery, the following are listed under the IUCN red list: common skate (Dipturus batis) (Dulvy et al. 2006) and porbeagle (Lamna nasus) (Ellis et al. 2015) as Critically endangered; basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) (Sims et al. 2015) and Northern wolffish (Anarhichas denticulatus) (Collette et al. 2015) as Endangered; blue ling (Molva dypterygia) (Fernandes et al. 2015) and spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) (Fordham et al. 2016) as Vulnerable. Limitations are encountered in the identification and quantification of bycatch species in order to assess mortality, namely of wolffish. Even if generically found in low proportions, there is insufficient information to understand if these species are within biologically-based limits (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2018). There are current efforts in place to understand the status of wolffish species, under the Joint Russian-Norwegian research program (Hønneland et al. 2018).

    There is a strategy in place to manage and minimize the impacts of the fishery in place, both by the managing countries and by ICES. There are besides several generic measures under the Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Convention and the Norwegian management plans for the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea to manage retained species, supported both by IMR and PINRO monitoring. Discarding of commercial fish species is prohibited; detailed records and daily reporting of all fishing activities and catches must be maintained, and compliance with technical measures checked. With the introduction of the electronic logbook, it is now required to record the presence or absence of marine mammals and seabirds in the catch. There are real-time closure rules if depleted species such as redfish, Greenland and Atlantic halibuts exceed threshold levels in individual catches and regulations to safeguard aggregations of both juveniles of most species and aggregations. The application of pingers is already being tested to mitigate the impact of the fishery with harbour porpoise (Nichols et al. 2015)(Lassen and Chaudhury 2017)(Hønneland et al. 2014)(Kiseleva and Nichols 2018) raise the importance of having independent monitoring of the data collection. On the other hand, (Knapman et al. 2018) consider that partial measures are implemented to manage the interaction of the fishery with ETP species but the "Barents Sea would benefit from a comprehensive strategy coordinated by the different jurisdictions to manage impacts on all types of ETP species".

    Other Species

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    Bycatch data oscillates seasonally and spatially, depending on the fishing area. Besides cod and haddock, the main retained species by volume is saithe (~1%). Apart from the ETP species identified in the respective section, other retained species include American plaice (Hippoglossoides platessoides), Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides), and small quantities of ling. Uncertainties can be found in skates, rays and other invertebrate species (shrimps, starfish), that may be discarded in low volumes (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Nichols et al. 2015)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018). Rays, which are generally released alive, are not detailed to the species level being starry ray (Amblyraja radiata) (Least Concern in the region) likely the most captured species (Hønneland et al. 2014). These and other skates/rays are occasionally caught, particularly by gillnets, but within national and international requirements (Nichols et al. 2015)

    Seabirds and marine mammals have been recorded feeding both within trawl nets and apparently on fish escaping through meshes but only a few bycatches of both groups in otter trawls have been recorded widely. Trawl fisheries seldom capture harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus) (Least concern (Kovacs 2015)) and the impact of this gear is considered with a low risk for bycatch of marine mammals (Gaudian et al. 2016). Some results sustain that there is no negative interaction of the fishery with marine mammals (Pfeiffer et al. 2013)(Hønneland et al. 2014). Interaction with elasmobranchs and seabirds - mostly by the longline fleet for seabirds, which has been using tori-lines and minimizing the interaction - is occasional and overall it is "considered that the direct effects of the fishery are highly unlikely to create unacceptable impacts" (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018)

    Both Norwegian and Russian jurisdictions require catches of species from a set list to be landed, being discarding of commercial species forbidden, under the Norwegian Marine Resources Act (Gullestad et al. 2015). The fishery is generically considered as relatively “clean” with low levels of bycatch (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Gaudian et al. 2016). Apart from the discarding ban, area closures, minimum sizes, use of larger mesh size, bycatch limits and sorting grids for trawls are in place to reduce impacts on retained bycatch species. Real-time closures along the Norwegian coast, in order to reduce the percentage of juvenile fish in catches, are implemented since 1984 (ICES 2018).

    (Nichols et al. 2015)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Lassen and Chaudhury 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018) raised concerns about the uncertainties on the magnitude of the impact on retained species, i. e. impacts of catches of non-target species in relation to the distribution, ecology, and abundance of the species and populations affected, including cod. Gear specific catch recording of any species is already known and impacts of the fishery on non-target species should be assessed (namely of elasmobranchs), mitigation measures developed and implemented accordingly, when significant impacts take place. (Knapman et al. 2018) consider that an effective management strategy should be developed for retained species and the observer coverage increased, generically. 

    HABITAT

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    The Barents Sea and N-Norway regional scale of vulnerable marine habitats mapping is captured and available in cartography from sources such as the EU Red List of Marine Habitats, the project MAREANO, and the OSPAR 2010 database (Smith and Ríos 2018). Major marine habitats are mapped and eight Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (VME), including corals and sponges, are identified. The reports by the Joint Russian Norwegian Ecosystem Assessment; the review by Jakobsen and Ozhigin; scientific studies undertook by PINRO, publications by WWF (Grekov and Pavlenko 2011), the ICES/WGIBAR reports (ICES 2018) also provide further knowledge (Hønneland et al. 2016). Several studies determined the impact of bottom trawling in the seabed habitat (e.g. (Buhl-Mortensen et al. 2016)(Kędra et al. 2017)) and the vulnerability of different species was also identified, with the description of "risk" groups, all showing a decrease in biomass in trawled areas (Jørgensen et al. 2016).

    Cold-water corals of the genus Lophelia, occurring on the NW continental slope of Norway, are of special consideration and identified as a VME. (Buhl-Mortensen and Buhl-Mortensen 2018) found significant extensive impacts on Lophelia offshore reefs, the dominating species in seabed Norwegian waters, in areas probably untrawled for more than 10 years. Some patches, but not all, are protected under law and besides that, only avoidance initiatives by the operating fleets will mitigate the interaction (Lassen and Chaudhury 2018)(Kiseleva et al. 2019). The interaction of both trawling and Danish seine fisheries with Pennatulacea (sea pens) is being assessed, to also understand if the habitat structure and function is not compromised at serious or irreversible levels (Nichols et al. 2015)(Lassen and Chaudhury 2018).

    Main interactions are identified and qualitative impacts on the habitat are well understood. A partial strategy is considered to be in place. VMS is implemented and provides knowledge about the distribution and fishing intensity of the fleets, MSC logbooks also improve the information about the species caught. Protected areas are established, as well as protocols to record encounters with specific species, a scientific observer scheme, joint PINRO/IMR ecosystem assessment, mapping and avoidance initiatives. There are efforts in place to improve and analyse the information gathered in regards to the interaction of the fishing gears with VME and other sensitive habitats, as well as the development of avoidance and encounter protocols, according to NEAFC recommendations (Hønneland et al. 2018)(Gaudian et al. 2019)(Kiseleva et al. 2019). FIUN has developed a “FIUN Barents Sea Plan” for the analysis of the impact of bottom trawling activities on VME indicator species in the Barents Sea. This plan includes different management measures to be implemented between 2016-2023 (Knapman et al. 2018).

    Notwithstanding, the measures in place lack "the strength of a full strategy at this point in time, since existing protected areas in Norwegian waters only protect coral reefs (and only to the south of Lofoten), and there are no clear measures in place for the protection of other known areas of VME, including in particular sponge fields" (Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2018). The quantitative impacts of different fishing gears with distinct seabed habitat types still need to be accurately understood, with detailed information on the spatial extent of the interaction, timing, and location of operations. Gaps are identified in terms of monitoring and analysis of the fishery impacts (Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018)(Kiseleva et al. 2019)

    There are besides some concerns on the potential future effects of the fishery beyond the current fishing areas. Fleets have been operating mostly inside the historical footprint of the fishery, zones considered as “clean” and presenting a lower risk for the gears; a voluntary closure limits the expansion of trawling in the Barents Sea (Lassen and Chaudhury 2018). The ongoing work of the MAREANO project will help to advise on “unexploited” areas (Cappell et al. 2015)(Kiseleva and Nichols 2018)

    Longlines, gillnets and hooks and lines are not expected to cause irreversible harm to the seabed habitat, in temporal and spatial terms, given the characteristics of the gears. Therefore these fishing gears are not a concern (Nichols et al. 2015)(Knapman et al. 2018).

    Norway/Russia
    Russian Federation

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    Knowledge of coral reefs in the Russian sector is not that much detailed and is thought to be much more disperse. Coastal protected areas in Russia do not cover benthic habitats or species but fishing vessels are not allowed to operate within the 12nm coastal zone, bringing protection to this area. Coastal waters (<12 nm) from Varanger Fjord to 37º E are closed to bottom trawling and purse seining in order to specifically protect benthic habitats. Most area closures (permanent and temporary) are designated to protect spawning and nursery areas of certain species (e.g., red king crab). Although not part of the OSPAR Convention, a considerable part of the Russian EEZ within the Barents Sea is covered by the OSPAR Region 1 – Arctic waters (Hønneland et al. 2014). Closed areas are defined in the Pechora Sea and around Novaya Zemlya (Cappell et al. 2015)

    ECOSYSTEM

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    There is a good understanding of the trophic chain, direct and indirect effects, the importance of key species and predator-prey relationships as well as "factors affecting the negative change in other ecosystem elements" in the Barents Sea ecoregion. "The length of time-series for some of this information is impressive and amongst the highest in the world" (Hønneland et al. 2016). Different model approaches are used to explore the trophic relations between fish species, and links between capelin, cod, seabirds, and marine mammals (e.g. Ecopath type studies, EcoCod, Gadget, Biofrost, MULTSPEC, STOCOBAR, ECOSIM) as well as broader ecosystem models such as NORWECOM.E2E and hydrodynamic models (e.g. (Pfeiffer et al. 2013)(Hønneland et al. 2016). An integrated ecosystem survey is carried out yearly since 2004 by IMR/PINRO (Pfeiffer et al. 2013) to better support the management decisions on scientific-based advice (Cappell et al. 2015). Both Arctic Fisheries (AFWG) and Integrated Assessments of the Barents Sea (WGIBAR) Working Groups provide annual assessments. There are requirements under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, OSPAR and the integrated plan for the Barents Sea-Lofoten that support the assessment and monitoring of the ecosystem, threatened species and habitats in the region (Cappell et al. 2015). There are besides significant efforts to use efficiently the complexity of information gathered in the region, to support the management of the ecosystem (Eriksen et al. 2018).

    All target species (cod, haddock and saithe) are biologically healthy, all resources regularly assessed and under a management strategy; discarding is banned and seems to be negligible (ICES 2019). Cod and capelin have close interactions and these are considered in the multispecies approach used for the cod stock assessment; interactions between stocks and fisheries are evaluated. A comprehensive review of the biotic and abiotic drivers influencing early life history dynamics of the Barents Sea cod is presented in (Ottersen et al. 2014). Experimental studies also suggest possible ocean acidification effects on cod larval survival and recruitment (Stiasny et al. 2016). Climate-change impacts appear to have more consequences in the Barents Sea ecosystem than the operating fisheries (Gascoigne et al. 2017)(Sieben et al. 2017). It is wider accepted that the fishing activity has been having an effect on the Barents Sea benthic habitat but there is no evidence that these have led to wider transformations in the ecosystem functioning, losses on productivity or ecosystem services (Hønneland et al. 2016)

    The integrated Barents Sea-Lofoten ecosystem-based management plan (adopted by the Norwegian government in 2006 and reviewed and updated in 2011) is considered as an overarching real-time resource to monitor the ecosystem and explicitly determines new or adapted measures to achieve the goals set, evaluating the ecosystem status, main activities, cumulative impacts in a system of indicators; a gap analysis is also performed regularly. The Russian zone lacks this type of initiative; limitations are also found on the knowledge about the specific and cumulative impacts of the fishing gears on benthic communities functioning and structure. Other gaps are identified in regard to certain areas (Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone) and to specific VMEs (sponges and coral gardens). A partial strategy is considered to exist, there are current efforts to extend some of the existing Norwegian measures, monitoring, planning and analysis to the Russian territory. Several other measures are in place: catch limits for most of the retained species, gears' specifications to increase selectivity, move-on rules to protect juveniles as well as corals and sponges, spawning areas, marine protected areas (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Gascoigne et al. 2017)(Knapman et al. 2018).

    The concerns are related to the quantification of direct and indirect impacts of the fishery on ETP species – redfish, wolffish and elasmobranchs – and notably on sensitive habitats (Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016), being more precautionary and contrarily to what is argued by most of the MSC assessment units, defend that it is inadequate to state that the impacts of the fisheries are "highly unlikely" in the Barents Sea ecosystem elements. 

    FishSource Scores

    Last updated on 11 September 2019

    MANAGEMENT QUALITY

    As calculated for 2019 data.

    The score is ≥ 8.

    The Joint Norwegian-Russian Fishery Commission decided in 2015 that the harvest control rule set in the management plan can be used in the upcoming 5 years (ICES 2019a). ICES has evaluated the modified management plan and concluded that it is in accordance with the precautionary approach and not in contradiction with the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) approach (AFWG 2016; ICES, 2019a,b).

    As calculated for 2019 data.

    The score is 7.9.

    This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the Advised TAC.

    The Set TAC is 172 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 152 ('000 t) .

    The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 113%.

    As calculated for 2018 data.

    The score is 10.0.

    This measures the Estimated landings as a percentage of the Set TAC.

    The Estimated landings is 191 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 202 ('000 t) .

    The underlying Estimated landings/Set TAC for this index is 94.5%.

    STOCK HEALTH:

    As calculated for 2019 data.

    The score is 10.0.

    This measures the SSB as a percentage of the MSY Btrigger.

    The SSB is 220 ('000 t). The MSY Btrigger is 80.0 ('000 t) .

    The underlying SSB/MSY Btrigger for this index is 275%.

    As calculated for 2018 data.

    The score is 7.7.

    This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

    The F is 0.378 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.350 .

    The underlying F/F management target for this index is 108%.

    ECOSYSTEM IMPACTS

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    Bycatch Subscores

    Cod and haddock are the main target species representing remaining species very low proportions. Quantitative data is available on all retained species but although the improvements achieved in the last years, the information is not yet adequate to assess ongoing mortalities of all bycatch species or analyse trends, even if caught in low proportions. Direct and indirect impacts of the fishery on ETP species are still to be understood even if the fishery rarely interacts with ETP marine mammals, seabirds, fish and benthic species (Nichols et al. 2015)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018). The previous concern interaction with the Russian longline fishery and wolffish is currently resolved (Knapman et al. 2018)

    Cod and haddock are the main target species representing remaining species very low proportions. The main concern regards the cumulative impacts of the fishery on golden redfish (Sebastes norvegicus) which is considered to be in "reduced reproductive capacity" and with fishing pressure above the Maximum Sustainable Yield. This species is mainly bycaught (direct fishery is conditioned), representing Norway and Russia 87% of total removals in 2017; bycatch is preliminary at 64% by trawls (increasing from last years), 18% by gillnets and 15% by longlines (ICES 2018). Uncertainties on the impacts on Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus), common or blue skate (Dipturus batis), spurdog (Squalus acanthias) and blue ling (Molva dypterygia), which are listed as endangered or critically endangered, may also exist even if in low proportions (Hønneland et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2014) (Hønneland et al. 2014) (Knapman et al. 2018) (Gaudian et al. 2018). Bycatch of harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) by Norwegian gillnets has been increasing and the impact is not totally understood (Nichols et al. 2015) (NAMMCO 2014).

    There are no 'main' bycatch species being all caught at very low proportions. The fishery is considered as 'clean' and discarding of commercial species is negligible. Uncertainties can be found in skates, rays and other species that may be discarded in low quantities (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Nichols et al. 2015)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018).

    Discarding of commercial species is forbidden. Retained species are managed under the Norwegian management plans for the Barents and Norwegian Sea and other measures are established under the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fishery Commission, based on both IMR and PINRO monitoring. Generic management measures, monitoring and management responses are considered as an effective strategy, successful and contribute to low levels of retained species. There are no signs of non-compliance(Knapman et al. 2018) consider that the "Barents Sea would benefit from a comprehensive strategy coordinated by the different jurisdictions to manage impacts on all types of ETP species." There are concerns in regards to golden redfish and harbour porpoise and measures should be adapted accordingly (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Nichols et al. 2015)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2016).

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    Habitat Subscores

    Monitoring and data analysis about the interaction with the habitat has to be performed to quantify the impacts with some detail and determine longer term and cumulative consequences of bottom trawls (which is the main one used) and Danish seines. Recovery rates of associated species need also to be understood like it is reasonable available for major habitats. Information about some Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems such as coral gardens and sponges is missing (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Kiseleva and Nichols 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018). The assessment about the information available on the interaction of the fishery with the seabed habitat is contradictory in some MSC reports.

    "The nature, distribution and vulnerability of benthic habitats of the Barents and Norwegian Seas, are well known and researched by international standards. This information is summarized in various marine atlases, the MAREANO mapping programm, the reports by the Joint Russian Norwegian Ecosystem Assessment; the review by Jakobsen and Ozhigin; through scientific studies undertaken by PINRO, and publications by WWF" (Hønneland et al. 2016) (Kiseleva and Nichols 2018). Gaps are identified in regard to certain areas (Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone) and to specific Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems such as sponges and coral gardens.

    Measures in place constitute a partial strategy to manage the impacts of the fishery in the habitat and there are current uncertainties about the success. Coral protected areas in Norway only consider coral reefs (and only to the south of Lofoten) and protections measures are missing for some Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems such as sponges and coral gardens. Besides, VMEs are differently protected under both Russian/Norway jurisdictions and some measures are voluntary in Russian waters . Enforcement and compliance are not flagged as a problem (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Kiseleva and Nichols 2018)(Knapman et al. 2018)(Gaudian et al. 2016). 

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    Ecosystem Subscores

    There are limitations on the knowledge about the specific and cumulative impacts of the fishing gears on benthic communities' functioning and structure. Other gaps are identified in regard to certain areas (Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone), to specific VMEs (sponges and coral gardens) and to protected species such as golden redfish (Nichols et al. 2015) (Hønneland et al. 2014)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Gascoigne et al. 2017)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018). 

    The Barents Sea ecosystem is deeply monitored and assessed under various initiatives. Both Arctic Fisheries (AFWG) and Integrated Assessments of the Barents Sea (WGIBAR) Working Groups provide annual assessments. The complex trophic chain and interactions have been studied through diverse statistical models (Pfeiffer et al. 2013)(Nichols et al. 2015)(Gaudian et al. 2016)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018).  "The length of time series for some of this information is impressive and amongst the highest in the world" (Hønneland et al. 2016)

    Removals of target species are not considered to disrupt the ecosystem function or structure. The concerns are related to the cumulative impacts of all fishing gears, and especially of bottom trawl, on ETP species such as golden redfish and about the specific and cumulative impacts of the fishing gears on benthic communities' functioning and structure and on Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems like sponges and coral gardens (Gascoigne et al. 2017)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Hønneland et al. 2014)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018)

    The integrated Barents Sea-Lofoten ecosystem-based management plan is considered as a real-time resource to monitor and manage the ecosystem, however the Russian zone lacks this type of initiative. There are current efforts to address this inconsistency. Other gaps are identified in regard to certain areas (Svalbard Fisheries Protection Zone) and to specific Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems (sponges and coral gardens). A partial strategy is considered to exist and several measures are in place in regard to the target and bycatch species and gears' specifications (Gascoigne et al. 2017)(Gaudian et al. 2018)(Hønneland et al. 2014)(Hønneland et al. 2016)(Knapman et al. 2018). It is not clear whether the ecosystem-based fisheries management is implemented to all fish stocks and how the Integrated Barents Sea-Lofoten ecosystem-based management plan is related with the Joint Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Commission management plan for cod and haddock.

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    DATA NOTES
    1. ICES reviewed the management plan and respective harvest control rule and concluded that it is in accordance with the Precautionary Approach (ICES 2019). Thus, a qualitative score has been assigned to the Management strategy score in lack of Fat low biomass (please mouse-over for further details).
    2. The advised TAC for 2020 is based on the existing Joint Russian–Norwegian Fisheries Commission management plan agreed for this fishery (ICES 2019).
    3. The 2019 TAC is set by the Joint Russia-Norway Fisheries Commission and includes Russian, Norwegian and third countries' quotas (Norebo 2018)(ICES 2019). Since 2015 unused quotas can be transferred among years and countries (ICES 2019)(ICES 2019) but these are not included in the TAC time-series. 
    4. 2018 estimated landings are provisional but considered for the score determination because were included in the 2019 stock assessment (ICES 2019).
    5. Ecosystem impact scores were not updated in 2019. Please check narrative sections for updated information.

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    Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

    No related FIPs

    Certifications

    Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

    SELECT MSC

    NAME

    FIUN Barents & Norwegian Seas cod and haddock

    STATUS

    MSC Recertified on 25 June 2013

    SCORES

    Principle Level Scores:

    Principle Score
    Principle 1 – Target Species - Atlantic cod 95.6
    Principle 1 – Target Species - Haddock 95.6
    Principle 2 - Ecosystem - Trawl 82.3
    Principle 2 - Ecosystem - Longline 84.3
    Principle 3 – Management System 91.1

    Certification Type: Silver

    Sources

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      Haddock - Barents Sea, Norway/Russia, Russian Federation, Bottom trawls

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