Faroe Bank cod has been shown to be independent from Faroe Plateau cod, as exchanges between the stocks are negligible and population dynamics quite different (ICES, 2008a).
Landing estimates since 1996 are uncertain as vessels are permitted to fish on both the Faroe Plateau and the Faroe Bank during the same trip, making it difficult to determine the provenance of the catches (ICES, 2008b). The introduction of mandatory logbooks in 2006 is expected to improve future catch statistics (ICES, 2008b). Two research surveys provide catch rate and exploitation rate data and commercial fisheries also provide exploitation rate estimates on which the stock assessment is based (ICES, 2008b). The uncertainty accompanying the spring survey indices are very large, whereas the summer survey performs better (ICES, 2008b). A commercial CPUE series is available but has not been used in the assessment (ICES, 2008a).
An analytical assessment was attempted in 2000 but was considered only indicative and has not been used since due to poor catch-at-age sampling (ICES, 2008a). Several tools were tested since then but results were not realistic and it was decided that survey catch rates would be used to indicate stock trends (ICES, 2008a).
As for 2008-2013, ICES advises for 2014 that the fishery should be closed until the present very low stock size recovers to 1996-2002 levels, as indicated by both survey indices (ICES, 2013a,b). As since 1996 vessels are permitted to fish both in Faroe bank and Plateau, landings estimates from each area are very uncertain, affecting stock assessments and advice. According to ICES, additional efforts should be made in the future to separate catches from the Bank and the Plateau (ICES, 2013b).
There is still no analytical basis on which to define reference points from any of the previously used stock assessment methods (ICES, 2008a, 2009, 2013b).
Information from both survey indices confirms the stock is severely depleted (ICES, 2013b). Latest surveys indicate a very low stock size, well below the average and still with no indications of strong incoming year classes (ICES, 2013a, 2013b).
The exploitation ratio decreased until 2002, but then increased markedly in 2003, probably due to the 160% in the longline fishing days that year. It has decreased since 2006 and has been at its lowest values in the past few years (ICES, 2013b).
Landings oscillated widely, reflecting the opportunistic nature of the fishery (ICES, 2008a), around an average of 2,000 t a year up to 1990, when the Bank was closed to all fishing at depths shallower than 200 m (ICES, 2008a). An experimental fishery inside the 200 m depth contour was tested in 1992 and 1993 for longliners and jiggers (ICES, 2008a). Landings increased again in the late 1990s and reached a record high of 5,700 t in 2003, after which catches have been steadily falling (ICES, 2008a). Landings in 2012 were estimated 107 t, amid the lowest of the time series (ICES, 2013b).