Biological studies were initiated by the Greenland Home Rule Authorities and in 1984 and 1988 inshore surveys (within the 3-mile boundary) located several populations of commercial interest (Pedersen, 1994), with Nuuk been the main fishing ground with the largest scallops beds. Populations are generally composed of large scallops in the range of 60–110mm shell height with the majority being 75–100 mm. However, stock assessments to determine if exploitation of the species is sustainable have been considered difficult because of the lack of knowledge of scallop populations and their recruitment processes that is very low (Pedersen, 1994; Garcia, 2006). Additionally, there are no funds for conducting annual studies since this is a small resource distributed over a large area and there are several areas that have not been investigate (Engelstoft, 2003).
The scientists applied a conservative approach to TAC definition, limiting catches to 10% of the scallop stock > 65mm. Greenland Institute of Natural Resources advises a total catch of 2000 tons for all West Greenland (Garcia, 2006). However, recent information on TAC and catches is not available.
There are no reference points defined for this stock.
The fishermen’s logbooks show a decreasing catch rate (catch per effort) in all areas since the beginning of the fishery. There are therefore indications that the population has been overfished. Despite the closure of some of the beds found in the 1980s, the fishery has been stable for a long time with annual catches of around 2000 tons until beginning of 2004 (Engelstoft, 2003; Garcia, 2006). In recent years, the catches had an accentuated decrease (about 400 tons) (FAO, 2014).