International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
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Northwestern Working Group (NWWG)

Version 2 2022-06-27, 09:29
Version 1 2022-01-18, 14:50
posted on 2021-06-24, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The North Western Working Group (NWWG) reports on the status and considerations for management of some of the demersal fish stocks (cod, haddock, saithe, plaice and Greenland halibut) around Greenland, Iceland and Faroes, as well as two pelagic fish stocks in Icelandic waters (summer spawning herring and capelin) and five redfish stocks in Greenland, Iceland and the Irminger Sea. In October 2020, MFRI advised an intermediate TAC of 0 tonnes based on an acoustic survey in September. Final advice for 2020/2021.In November 2020, ICES advised an initial quota of 400 000 tonnes for the fishing season 2021/2022. In February 2021, MFRI advised a final TAC of 127 300 t for 2020/2021 based on an acoustic sur-vey in January 2021. All advice was based on the HCR from the ICES Benchmark Workshop on Icelandic Stocks (WKICE - ICES, 2015). The total landings in the fishing season 2020/2021 amounted to 129 thousand tonnes (prelimi-nary data). All catches were caught in winter months (January–March) 2021. The stock has been accepted to go through a benchmark in 2022.Offshore West Greenland CodThe West Greenland offshore stock component is currently assessed as cod in the area comprised of the NAFO subdivisions 1A–E in West Greenland. The East Greenland stock component is currently assessed as cod in the area comprised of the area NAFO Subdivision 1F in South Green-land and ICES Subarea 14 in East Greenland.Mixing occurs between the two stocks in West Greenland which at present is considered to act as a nursing area for juveniles of the East Greenland stock component. New genetic information suggest that the mixing is more extensive than previously thought, making the geographical boundaries arbitrary. Stock mixing will be addressed at the next benchmark for the Greenland cod stocks proposed for 2023.Fishery collapsed in the area in the beginning of the 1990s and has since only been of minor importance with average catches between 2000–4000 tonnes per year in the period 2015–2019. TAC in 2020 was zero tonnes, but 100 tonnes were fished on the inshore quota.Both the German Groundfish survey and Greenland Shrimp and Fish survey indices show that the biomass and abundance increased in the period 2010–2015 due primarily to the 2009-year class and in part to the 2010-year class. In the period 2016–2019, the German survey did not cover the stock area. The Greenland survey showed a reduction in biomass in 2016 due to a decrease in the 2009 and 2010-year classes at age 6 and 7 years which where historically high at age 5 and 6 years in 2015. The decrease has been attributed as an effect of fishing and migration inshore and eastward. The abundance of older cod (age >7 years), however, increased since 2017 com-pared to previous years where older cod where almost absent indicating that not all cod has migrated out of the area and/or they returned from the inshore area. In 2019, the highest biomass in the time period was observed in the Greenland survey. The increase was based on two large hauls in the southern part of the survey area resulting in high uncertainty. Genetic samples from the 2019 survey, including the two hauls, showed that the stock composition in the southern part of the survey area is dominated by the East Greenland/Iceland offshore stock


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

  • FRSG

Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Scientific Reports





Contributors (Editors)

Teunis Jansen

Contributors (Authors)

Elzbieta Baranowska; Birkir Bardarson; Höskuldur Björnsson; Jesper Boje; Tanja B. Buch; Bjarki Thor Elvarsson; Einar Hjörleifsson; Teunis Jansen; Kristján Kristinsson; Lísa Anne Libungan; Julius Nielsen; Anja Retzel; Frank Farsø¸ Riget; Aleksei Rolskii; Petur Steingrund; Helga Bára Mohr Vang; Karl-Michael Werner



Recommended citation

ICES. 2021. Northwestern Working Group (NWWG). ICES Scientific Reports. 3:52. 556 pp.