Based on the most recent estimates of fishing mortality and SSB, ICES classifies the stock as having full reproductive capacity and being harvested sustainably. SSB increased to a historic high in 2003, and then decreased; there is evidence, however, that SSB is now increasing again. Blue whiting is not fished in the Barents Sea; however a TAC is set for the entire Northeast Atlantic region. Total landings in 2012 were estimated at 384,000 tonnes.
The 2013 TAC was set at 643,000 tonnes, while the TAC advice for 2014 is 949 000 tonnes (ICES AFWG, 2014).
High abundance of blue whiting observed in the Barents Sea during 2004-2007 (Figure 4.3.52) may be due to increased temperature and high levels of recruitment. Blue whiting has been observed in the western and southern Barents Sea for many years, but never in such quantities, and never in areas as far north and east as during 2004-2007. Subsequently, abundance decreased to very low levels during 2008-2011, but again increased upon recruitment of the 2011 year class (ICES AFWG, 2014).