Last updated on 7 January 2016
Icelandic haddock is mostly found on the Icelandic continental shelf and younger ages (0-group and juveniles) are detected in East Greenland waters (ICES, 2012a); recently, a large part of the fishable stock has also been found off the north coast due to changing seawater temperatures (ICES, 2012b; 2015b).
The assessment of Icelandic haddock has since 2007 been conducted with an Adapt type model with input data based on landings-at-age and two survey indices (Icelandic spring and autumn groundfish surveys) (ICES, 2015b). Growth in the assessment year was based on the average of the growth of 2013 and 2014 to reduce the effect of interannual variability observed. Currently growth rate is 6% higher than the average in 1985–2012.
Discards in 2014 were estimated to be less than 1% (MRI, 2015a); they are considered negligible and are not included in the assessment (ICES, 2015a)For assessment and advisory purpose the natural mortality is set to 0.2 for all age groups (ICES, 2013b), although there is indications of increased natural mortality after age 6, which will be investigated further (ICES, 2015b).
The assessment is considered to be very consistent. The main uncertainty in the assessment relates to the differences between the assessments based on each of the two surveys, with the final assessment tuned with both surveys data, fitting in between (ICES, 2015a; MRI, 2015a). The current assessment shows some upward revision of the stock compared to last year assessment, mostly caused by more growth than predicted The stock is predicted to decrease in next two years, as incoming year classes are small, until the strong 2014 year-class recruits to the stock. CPUE data, not used directly in the assessment support that the stock might be larger (ICES, 2015b).
Last updated on 8 January 2016
A management plan was adopted in April, 2013 and considered to be precautionary by the ICES and in conformity with the MSY approach (Björnsson, 2013; ICES, 2013c). According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in the management plan, TAC for the next fishing year is 40% of the estimated reference biomass (45 cm and larger haddock) in the beginning of the next calendar year. Harvest rate will be reduced below 40% if the spawning stock is estimated to be below Blim (45,000 tons) (ICES, 2015a).
ICES advised on the basis of the management plan that catches in the fishing year 2015/2016 should be no more than 36,400 tons. All catches are assumed to be landed (ICES, 2015a).
Last updated on 08 Jan 2016
The Icelandic Fisheries authorities formally adopted in April 2013 a management plan for the Icelandic haddock stock for the next period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2013/14, including a harvest control rule (HCR). ICES has evaluated the current biological precautionary reference points and considers that Blim = 45,000 tons is appropriate. In 2013, Btriggerwas defined at the same level. According to the HCR, this means that the harvest rate will be reduced when the spawning stock is estimated lower than Btrigger (ICES, 2014a; MRI, 2014).
ICES recommended that a precautionary harvest rate HRpa = 0.46 and the harvest ratio giving maximum yield (HMSY) was estimated as0.52.However, the Harvest ratio target for the Management plan is 0.40. ICES concludes that the harvest control rule for Icelandic haddock in the request is precautionary and in accordance with the ICES MSY approach (ICES, 2013c; ICES, 2014a).
No target biomass reference point has been defined (ICES, 2015a).
Last updated on 8 January 2016
Age 3+ haddock at the beginning of 2015 are estimated at 112,000 tons (reference stock biomass) and the reproductive biomass (SSB) is estimated at 78,000 tons (MRI, 2015a), showing an increase of 8% from last year estimate, after a decreasing trend since 2008.
Growth of haddock is considered density dependent. The stock was large in 2003–2009 and growth was very slow. Since 2009 the stock size has decreased and growth gradually improved. In 2013 and 2014 growth is estimated to be above the average of the last 30 years, which caused mean weight at age in 2015 to be higher than expected and an upward revision of the stock status in the current assessment compared to last year’s assessment (ICES, 2015b).
The 2014 year class is estimated to be strong, after 6 consecutive weak year classes from 2008-2013. Spawning biomass (SSB) and catch are predicted to decrease over the next two years when the average year classes (2004–2007) disappear from the stock and are replaced by the small (2008–2013) year classes. An increase is expected within two years, when the 2014 year-class recruits to the stock (ICES, 2015b).
The harvest rate of haddock in last assessment is estimated at 35%, lower than the target level defined in the management plan (MRI, 2015a). Landings by Icelandic fleets in the fishing season 2012/2013 were 40,000 tons 18% below the previous fishing year, while landings in 2013/2014 were 39,000 tons, similar to the previous season (MRI, 2015a).
Last updated on 08 Jan 2016
During the early sixties haddock landings reached around 100,000 tons (ICES, 2007). Following this phase and up to 2003 annual landings did not exceed 70,000 tons. From 2004 a steady increase in landings occurred, peaking at 110,000 tons in 2007, the largest catches in over 40 years. Landings have been falling since then and are now below the historical average. The percentage of catch caught with each different gear is not stable over time and catches by longline and Danish seine have increased recently, whereas gillnet and bottom trawl catches have decreased (ICES, 2012a; 2015a).
Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) reached 141,600 tons in 1981, then decreased to just below 46,300 tons in 1987 and reached 110,700 tons in 1990. The stock remained mostly around 60,000 and 90,000 tons during the 1990s but a rapid recovery was observed from 2001 due to several strong year classes (ICES, 2011a), with a historical high of around 182,000 tons attained in 2004. A generally decreasing trend has followed as the stronger year classes were replaced by average ones, and SSB was estimated at 78,000 tons in 2015. SSB has though decreased more than the reference biomass (45 cm and larger haddock) as proportion mature by age/size has been decreasing (ICES, 2015b).
Fishing mortality (F) trends are inversely related to SSB changes. F levels have generally been above Fpa of 0.47 (and consequently above the revised 2009 Fpa value of 0.35) apart the beginning of the 1980s and the three-year interval previous to the 2004 SSB peak. Since 2012, F is below Fpa and harvest rate is below the adopted Htarget (0.4) (ICES, 2015a).
Recruitment is highly variable, characterized by occasional strong year classes followed by a series of weaker years. It was high in the period 1998–2003, with five strong year classes, of which the 2003 year class was very strong. The 2008–2013 year classes are all estimated to be weak while the 2014 year class is estimated to be strong (ICES, 2015a).
Landing figures from the early 1960s support the observation that the stock can become very large in warm periods. The groundfish surveys show that the proportion of the haddock stock inhabiting the waters north of Iceland has increased from 2000 to 2006 and has remained high since then (ICES, 2013a; 2015b). Spatial distribution of the landings does not change very much from year to year but catches from the area north of Iceland have increased gradually over the last 10-15 years (ICES, 2014b; 2015b).
The low fishing pressure in recent years has slowed the decline of the stock despite poor recruitment (MRI, 2015a). The reference stock is expected to decrease in the next two years until the 2007 cohort leaves the stock, after which the stock should increase again when the 2014 cohort joins it (MRI, 2015a).