Profile updated on 22 September 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Gadus morhua

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic cod

Both genetic and tagging studies suggest the cod on the Faroe Plateau (Division Vb2) is a distinct biological stock from cod on the Faroe Plateau (Division Vb1) and in Icelandic waters (Division Va) (ICES, 2013b).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Fishing effort has been significantly reduced in recent years.
  • No fishing days were allocated in the 2012/2013 fishing season.
Weaknesses
  • Both spring and summer survey indices suggest the stock is well below average.
  • There is still no indication of strong incoming year classes.
  • The effort management system appears to have not protected the stock from overfishing.
Options
  • The fishery should be closed until the stock recovers to previously healthy levels.
  • A system to separate catches originating from Faroe bank and Plateau on the same trip should be implemented.
  • The management system should be reviewed.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

< 6

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

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
Faroe Bank Faroe Islands, Division Vb2 Faroe Islands Bottom trawls
Longlines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths
  • Fishing effort has been significantly reduced in recent years.
  • No fishing days were allocated in the 2012/2013 fishing season.
Weaknesses
  • Both spring and summer survey indices suggest the stock is well below average.
  • There is still no indication of strong incoming year classes.
  • The effort management system appears to have not protected the stock from overfishing.
Options
  • The fishery should be closed until the stock recovers to previously healthy levels.
  • A system to separate catches originating from Faroe bank and Plateau on the same trip should be implemented.
  • The management system should be reviewed.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

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).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

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).

Reference Points

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).

CURRENT STATUS

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).

Trends

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).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

There is no specific management plan in place (ICES, 2008b). A TAC was set for the year 1995/96 but was met with criticism and resulted in increased discarding and misreporting, which was not resolved by reorganizing enforcement and control (ICES, 2008a). It was replaced the following year with individual vessel effort quotas. Longlines and jiggers are the only gear permitted on the Faroe Bank inside the 200 m depth contour, with trawling permitted outside the 200 m contour (ICES, 2008a). A complete fishing ban is enforced during spawning, from March 1stto May 1st, since 2005 (ICES, 2008b). Further management measures include the temporary closure of areas where catches of young cod, haddock or saithe exceeds 30% (by number) (ICES, 2008a). The effort management system is currently under review by the Faroese authorities, following a recommendation by ICES in 2007 to that effect (ICES, 2008a).

In recent years, despite ICES advice for full closure of the fishery, owing to poor status of the stock, the fishery has remained open at least to a segment of the fleet; According ICES (2013b), “in the fishing years 2010–2011 and 2011–2012, respectively, a total of 78 and 100 fishing days were allowed to small jiggers in the shallow waters of the Bank”. No fishing days have been allocated for 2012/2013, however (ICES, 2013a, 2013b).

Recovery Plans

No formal recovery plans are in place. ICES has advised that no further catches be taken until clear indications from both surveys show that the stock has recovered to 1996-2002 levels (ICES, 2008b).

COMPLIANCE

The effort quota system was thought to be self-regulatory, on A fishing effort regulatory system is in place in the Faroe Islands since 1996 (ICES, 2013b). There is no reported evidence of fisher’s non-compliance with the regulations in place. Another expected effect of the effort-regulated system is that discarding of commercial species is considered minimal (ICES, 2008c, 2013b).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Longlining is the most conspicuous gear in seabird bycatches and, although no estimates are available of the dimension of the problem in the Faroe Bank cod fishery, concerns are raised for the populations of northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List), black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List), Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List), common guillemot Uria aalge (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List), and Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List), which are being affected by collapses in reproduction in recent years (FMRI, 2007). The effects of climate changes on the seabird’s food chain is suspected to be mostly responsible but other factors which negatively impact seabird populations such as bycatch in fishing gear must be lessened (FMRI, 2007).

Marine mammals in the region include long-finned pilot whales Globicephala melas, which are targeted by Faroese vessels and though classified by Faroese authorities as abundant (DFA, 2000). However, IUCN considers not enough data is available to detect a population trend. Several other marine mammals in the surrounding north-east Atlantic are classified by IUCN as Vulnerable or Endangered (IUCN Red List, 2013).

Other Species

Faroe cod is caught in a mixed fishery for cod and haddock (ICES, 2008b). It is thought that discarding of commercial species is thought to be minimal (ICES, 2013b). Bycatch of non-commercial species and non-commercial sized individuals is not known but may be higher, particularly during periods of high recruitment (ICES, 2008c).

HABITAT

The stock is distributed south-west of the Faroe Bank, within ICES Subdivision Vb2 (ICES, 2008a). The stock spawns from March to May in the shallow (<200 m) waters of the Bank and the eggs and larvae are kept on the Bank by circulation patterns. Juveniles descend to the bottom of the Bank proper in July but distribute widely and there are no clear nursery areas (ICES, 2008a). Primary productivity is the main driver for biological productivity in higher trophic levels in the ecosystem, including fish and seabirds (ICES, 2008c), and is positively correlated with cod recruitment and individual growth 1-2 years later. Primary production indices have been at or below average since 2002 (ICES, 2008a).

The reef-forming cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa is present on the slope around the Faroe Bank and sponge aggregations are found on the eastern slopes but the sandy top of the Bank is relatively poor in macrofauna (WWF, 2002). Three areas on the Faroe shelf have been closed to trawling to protect coral reefs (ICES, 2008c) but none of them on the Bank.

Marine Reserves

The number of fishing days is limited by the effort-management system and fishing is not permitted with any gear on the Bank from March 1stto May 1st while cod is spawning (ICES, 2008b). Temporary area closures lasting 1-2 weeks are enforced when catches of young cod, haddock or saithe exceeds 30% of fish caught (ICES, 2008a). In addition, trawling is forbidden year-round on the Faroe Bank and is limited to the period from September 1st to December 31st on the south-eastern slope (ICES, 2008a).

A conservation organization, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has proposed that the Faroe Bank be designated a marine protected area (MPA) under the planned OSPAR network of MPAs, to protect its biological features and ensure the sustainable use of the fisheries (WWF, 2002).

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is < 6.

No management plan is in place, no reference points are defined and catches are not TAC-limited. Management still does not require differentiation of catches from the Faroe Plateau and Faroe Bank stocks (ICES, 2013b).

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Despite ICES advice for the closure of the fishery, owing to poor status of the stock, the fishery has remained open at least to a segment of the fleet; According ICES (2013b), “in the fishing years 2010–2011 and 2011–2012, respectively, a total of 78 and 100 fishing days were allowed to small jiggers in the shallow waters of the Bank”. No fishing days have been allocated for 2012/2013, however (ICES, 2013a, 2013b).

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

A fishing effort regulatory system is in place in the Faroe Islands since 1996. There is no reported evidence of fisher’s non-compliance with the regulations in place.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is < 6.

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).

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.

No related analysis

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

1.    DFA, 2000. Whales and Whaling in the Faroe Islands. Department of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office.

2.    FMRI, 2007. Growing concerns for seabird populations in Nordic Seas. Faroe Marine Research Institute (FMRI). Press release: 8 October 2007. http://www.jenskjeld.info/artikler/Press%20Release-Nordic_seabirds.pdf

3.    FMRI, 2007. Press release: Growing concerns for seabird populations in Nordic Seas. Faroe Marine Research Institute.

4.     ICES, 2008a. Report of the North‐Western Working Group (NWWG), 21 ‐ 29 April 2008, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2008 /ACOM:03. 604 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2008/NWWG/NWWG08.pdf

5.    ICES, 2008b. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee on Fishery Management, Advisory Committee on the Marine Environment and Advisory Committee on Ecosystems, Book 4: Faroe Plateau Ecosystem. 4.4.2 Faroe Bank cod (Subdivision Vb2). 6 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2008/2008/Cod-farb.pdf

6.    ICES, 2008c. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee 2008. ICES Advice, 2008. Book 4. 48 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/ICES%20Advice/2008/ICES%20ADVICE%202008%20Book%204.pdf

7.    ICES, 2008d. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 6.4.8 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice summary, 6 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2008/2008/Cod-farb.pdf

8.    ICES, 2009a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 6.4.8 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice summary, 4 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2009/2009/Cod-farb.pdf

9.    ICES, 2009b. Report of the North Western Working Group (NWWG), 29 April - 5 May 2009, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. Diane Lindemann. 655 pp. http://www.ices.dk/publications/library/Pages/default.aspx

10. ICES, 2010a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 4.4.2 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice June 2010, 4 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2010/2010/Cod-farb.pdf

11. ICES, 2010b. Report of the North-Western Working Group (NWWG), 27 April - 4 May 2010, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2010/ACOM:07. 751 pp. http://www.ices.dk/publications/library/Pages/default.aspx

12. ICES, 2011a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 6.4.8 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice June 2011, 3 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2011/2011/Cod-farb.pdf

13. ICES, 2011b. Report of the North Western Working Group (NWWG), 26 April - 3 May 2011, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2011/ACOM:7. 975 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2011/NWWG/NWWG%20Report%202011.pdf

14. ICES, 2012a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 4.4.2 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice June 2012, 4 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2012/2012/Cod-farb.pdf

15. ICES, 2012b. Report of the North-Western Working Group (NWWG), 26 April - 3 May 2012, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2012/ACOM:07. 1425 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2012/NWWG/NWWG%20Report%20%202012.pdf

16. ICES, 2013a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 4: The Faroe Plateau Ecosystem 4.4.2 Ecoregion: Cod in Subdivision Vb2 (Faroe Bank). Advice June 2013, 5 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2013/2013/Cod-farb.pdf

17. ICES, 2013b. Report of the North Western Working Group (NWWG), 25 April - 02 May 2013, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:07. 1538 pp.

18.  IUCN, 2013. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. Downloaded on 17 July 2013. http://www.iucnredlist.org

19.   WWF, 2002. The Faroe Bank – A Potential MPA. World Wildlife Fund. 

References

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