No capelin quotas in 2019


In 2019 there are no quotas on capelin around Iceland and in the Barents Sea. Capelin is the second most important export species of fish in Iceland after cod, and a lack of catch not only impacts the fishing communities but the processing industry and the country’s overall economy according to Iceland Review .

Four research expeditions have found capelin stocks in Icelandic waters to be in poor shape and for capelin around Iceland, ICES advises that when the harvest control rule agreed by the Coastal States is applied, the TAC for the fishing season July 2019–March 2020 should be zero tonnes.

The spawning-stock biomass (SSB) was estimated at 364 000 tonnes at the time of spawning in March 2018. However, the estimates from the acoustic survey in autumn 2018 of the immature 1- and 2-year-old capelin were low.

Capelin dies after spawning and the reason behind the poor shape of the stock is unknown, however changed environmental conditions are the most likely explanation. As a result, the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI) will not permit capelin fishing this coming season.

Early in February the fishing and processing firm Sildarvinnslan (SVN) announced it would close one of its three fishmeal and oil facilities. Capacity utilization has dived along with raw material landings to the plant in recent years, and the firm expected this to be zero this year, SVN managing director Gunnthor Ingvason told Undercurrent.

HB Grandi has noted that if no capelin quota is set, its operations would take a hit in 2019 — the first quarter in particular. In 2018, it said, capelin fishing and processing brought it €18.5m in turnover and €8m in earnings.

For the Barents Sea Capelin, ICES advises that when the management plan of the Joint Norwegian–Russian Fisheries Commission (JNRFC) is applied, there should be zero catch in 2019. The Barents Sea capelin spawning-stock biomass has declined from 2018 to 2019. The estimate of recruitment (age 1) has declined since 2013 and has remained low. The assessment is based on an annual acoustic survey.

According to Undercurrent the whole Norwegian fleet is hit by the 2019’s zero capelin quotas.