Report of the Working Group on the Integrated Assessments of the Barents Sea (WGIBAR)
reportposted on 2017-01-04, 00:00 authored by ICESICES
The Working Group Report of the Working Group on the Integrated Assessments of the Barents Sea (WGIBAR), chaired by Elena Eriksen (Norway) and Anatoly Filin (Rus-sia), met in Murmansk, Russia, 16–18 March 2017. The meeting was attended by 25 from 4 institutes and 2 countries.Since the 1980s, the Barents Sea has gone from a situation with high fishing pressure, cold conditions and low demersal fish stock levels, to the current situation with high levels of demersal fish stocks, reduced fishing pressure and warm conditions (section 4). 2016 was a record warm year with the smallest area of Arctic and cold bottom wa-ters (<0°С) and largest area of Atlantic waters (>3°С). The decrease in ice coverage pro-vides improved conditions for phytoplankton production. Zooplankton biomasses in the Central Bank and Great Bank subareas have shown declining trends since the peak in 1995. The capelin stock biomass is well below the long-term mean while the cod stock is at a high level. Due to the low level of capelin, cod and other piscivores must compensate by feeding on other prey and therefore a predation pressure on other prey is potential large. So far, minor effects of low biomass of pelagic fish on growth of cod were observed. The levels of environmental and organic pollution in the Barents Sea are generally low and do not exceed threshold limits or global background levels. More detailed information can be found in the annual report “The state and trends of the Barents Sea ecosystem in 2016”, which is available on the ICES WGIBAR page as sep-arate document.