Photo: Cecilie von Quillfeldt, Norwegian Polar Institute

The ongoing warming were associated with increased water and air temperature, larger area covered by Atlantic and Mixed warm water masses and decreased ice coverage. The warming was also associated with
increased macro zooplankton such as krill and jellyfish biomass, increased fish recruitment (age 0) which trigger positive development of fish stocks (cod, haddock, deep water redfish, capelin and herring). Increased production and adequate fishing pressure in relation to stock size led to cod and haddock stock size increasing to record high levels and the capelin stock withstanding the high predation level. Several sea birds populations from coastal colonies stay or migrate in to the Barents Sea to feed and moult, possibly increasing the total number.

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Photo: Kit M. Kovacs og Christian Lydersen, Norsk Polarinstitutt

The Barents Sea has been divided into 15 subareas or polygons (Figure 2.1.1). The division is based on topography and oceanography and is a modification (with some subdivision) of the system used by Eriksen et al. (2017) in a summary analysis of pelagic biomass. The four western areas, South-West, Bear Island Trough, Hopen Deep and Tor Iversen Bank, are areas covered mainly with Atlantic water and constitute the inflow region of Atlantic water with the splitting of the current branches east through the Kola Section (south of the Central Bank) and north in the Hopen Deep (west of the Central Bank).

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