International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
FisheriesOverview_GreenlandSea_2021.pdf (2.2 MB)

Greenland Sea ecoregion – Fisheries overview

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posted on 2023-08-22, 11:37 authored by ICESICES

A total of around 60 vessels currently operate in the Greenland Sea ecoregion. In addition to the Greenland fleet, EU, Faroe Islands, Norway, and Russia are fishing in the ecoregion.

As the ecoregion is within the Greenland Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the management of marine resources are under Greenland authority. Fisheries targeting widely distributed fish stocks (e.g., Norwegian spring- spawning (NSS) herring [her.27.1-24a514a], mackerel [mac.27.nea], and capelin [cap.27.2a514]) are managed by the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) or coastal state agreements. The fisheries of Greenland halibut (ghl.27.561214) and golden redfish (reg.27.561214) have been managed bilaterally with Iceland during the past decade.

Fishing activity is mainly concentrated in the southern part of the region, south of 70°N. The primary pelagic species are capelin, herring, and mackerel, fished by pelagic trawl and purse-seine. The most important demersal fisheries are the bottom-trawl fisheries for Atlantic cod (cod.2127.1f14), Greenland halibut, golden redfish, and demersal beaked redfish (reb.27.14b). Northern shrimp is the main exploited invertebrate species in this ecoregion.

The Greenland halibut stock has been relatively stable over the past decade and is currently at full reproductive capacity with a sustainable fishing pressure in accordance with maximum sustainable yield (MSY). Atlantic cod is highly influenced by the inflow of eggs and larvae from Icelandic waters that occasionally contribute with large year classes. The cod stock is at full reproductive capacity, though with low recruitment. Two species of redfish, golden redfish and beaked redfish, are caught on the continental shelf and slopes in the ecoregion. While the golden redfish stock size has been at full reproductive capacity for more than a decade, the stock status of beaked redfish is unknown.

For herring and mackerel, the average ratios of fishing mortality (F) to FMSY have been close to 1 throughout the time-series. Also, the stocks have been on the positive side of the biological reference points.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee

  • ACOM


ICES Advice: Fisheries overviews

Recommended citation

ICES. 2021. Greenland Sea ecoregion – Fisheries overview. In Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2021. ICES Advice 2021.