Capelin (Mallotus villosus)

Fish species
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Capelin stock size has been stable since 2008 (Figure 4.3.49).  Spawning stock size in 2014 was predicted from September-October 2013 acoustic survey data in combination with results from a model — estimating maturity, growth, and mortality (including predation by cod). The model accounts for uncertainties in both survey estimates and other input data. At catch levels below 65,000 tonnes (during spring 2014), the probability of SSB falling below 200,000 tonnes was less than 5 %.

Thus, the 2014 TAC was set at 65,000 tonnes, in accordance with the harvest control rule (ICES AFWG, 2014).

Based on the most recent estimates of SSB and recruitment, ICES classifies the stock as having full reproductive capacity. The maturing component in autumn 2013 was estimated to be 1.5 million tonnes, and SSB 1st April 2014 was predicted to be at 0.4 million tonnes. The spawning stock in 2014 will consist of fish from the 2010 and 2011 year classes, but the 2010 year class will dominate. The survey estimate at age 1 of the 2012 year class is above the long-term average. Observations during the international 0-group survey in August-September 2013 indicate that the 2013 year class is average. The estimated annual consumption of capelin by cod has varied between 0.2 and 4.1 million tonnes over the period 1984-2012. Young herring consume capelin larvae, and this predation pressure is thought to be one of the causes for the poor year classes of capelin in the periods 1984-1986, 1992-1994 and 2002-2005 (ICES AFWG, 2014).

Figure 4.3.49. Barents Sea capelin. Total stock (1+) and total landings, 1973–2013.Figure 4.3.49. Barents Sea capelin. Total stock (1+) and total landings, 1973–2013.