Oceanic Northeast Atlantic ecoregion – fisheries overview
The commercial fisheries in the Oceanic Northeast Atlantic ecoregion target few stocks. The main fisheries in the area are a multinational pelagic fishery on two pelagic beaked redfish stocks in the northwestern part of the ecoregion and a fishery on blue whiting in the Hatton-Rockall plateau and west of the Porcupine Bank using midwater trawl. The demersal fisheries for haddock at Rockall account for only a small proportion of the total catches of haddock taken in this ecoregion. Fishing for tuna (bluefin, skipjack, bigeye, and albacore) and other large pelagic species (swordfish) by long‑distance longliners occurs across much of this ecoregion. Very few deep-sea fisheries are conducted in the region.
There are currently around 20 nations with fisheries targeting the stocks in the ecoregion. Norway, Iceland, and Russia have the largest fleets and dominate the landings in the region. Total landings have varied since the mid-1970s, with a rise in the recent decade which is mainly due to increased blue whiting catches. Two beaked redfish stocks dominated the catches (by weight) until 2000. Catches of these beaked redfish stocks have decreased considerably since the peak of the fishery in the mid-1990s.
The Oceanic Northeast Atlantic ecoregion has 52 stocks for which ICES provided advice in 2021. Around 13% of the assessed stocks are fished at or below FMSY target levels; around 19% of the stocks were assessed to be above MSY Btrigger. The majority of the stocks have unknown stock and fishing mortality status.
Supporting data used in the Oceanic Northeast Atlantic fisheries overview is accessible at https://doi.org/10.17895/ices.advice.21646910