International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
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Greenland Sea ecoregion – fisheries overview

posted on 2024-01-25, 08:03 authored by ICESICES

Around 60 vessels currently operate in the Greenland Sea ecoregion. In addition to the Greenlandic fleet, EU, Faroe Islands, Norway, and Russian Federation (Russia henceforth) are fishing in the ecoregion.

As the ecoregion is within the Greenlandic Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the management of marine resources are under Greenlandic authority. Fisheries targeting widely distributed stocks (e.g., Norwegian spring‑spawning (NSS) herring [her.27.1-24a514a] and mackerel [mac.27.nea]) are managed by the North‑East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). 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 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 two decades 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 fishing mortality is above FMSY but above biological reference points.

Supporting data used in the Greenland Sea fisheries overview is accessible at


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

  • ACOM
  • FRSG


ICES Advice: Fisheries overviews

Recommended citation

Greenland Sea ecoregion – fisheries overview. In Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2022. ICES Advice 2022, section 10.2.