Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Photo: Institute of marine research, Norway

The level of discarding in the fisheries is not known, and no discards are accounted for in the assessments. Both undersized fish and bycatch of other species can lead to discarding, and also low-paid fish just above the minimum size has been subject to discarding in order to fill the quota with larger and better paid fish (known as highgrading).

Northern minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). Photo: NAMCO

Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)

The management of this species is based on the Revised Management Procedure (RMP) developed by the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. The inputs to this procedure are catch statistics and absolute abundance estimates. The present quotas are based on abundance estimates calculated from surveys conducted in 1989, 1995, 1996–2001, 2002–2007 and 2008–2013.

Total catches

Fishing is the largest human impact on the fish stocks in the Barents Sea, and thereby on the functioning of the whole ecosystem. However, the observed variation in both fish species and ecosystem is also strongly affected by as climate and trophic interactions. During the last decade catches of most important commercial species in the Barents Sea and adjacent waters of Norwegian and Greenland Sea varied around 1.5–3 mill. tonnes and has decrease in the last years (Figure

The fishing activity in the Barents Sea is among other monitored by Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) data. Figures show fishing activity in 2016 from Russian and Norwegian data. VMS data might give us valuable information about temporal and spatial changes in fishing activity. The most widespread gear used in the Barents Sea is bottom trawl, but also longline, gillnets, Danish seine and handline are used in the demersal fisheries. The pelagic fisheries use purse-seine and pelagic trawl, shrimp fishery used special bottom trawls.

Photo: Institute of marine research, Norway

Northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis)

Norwegian and Russian vessels harvest northern shrimp in the Barents Sea over the stock’s entire area of distribution. Vessels from other nations are restricted to fish only in the Svalbard zone and the loophole. No overall TAC has been set for northern shrimp, and the fishery is regulated through effort control, licensing, and a partial TAC in the Russian zone only. The regulated minimum mesh size is 35 mm.