Deep-Sea Redfish (Sebastes mentella)
Recruitment failure has been observed in surveys (Figure 4.3.22) for more than a decade. However, signs of improved recruitment are now seen in the Barents Sea. In this regard, it is of vital importance that the juvenile age groups be given the strongest protection from being caught as bycatch in any fishery, e.g., the shrimp fisheries in the Barents Sea and Svalbard area. This will ensure that the recruiting year classes can contribute as much as possible to stock rebuilding.
The only year classes that can contribute to the spawning stock in the coming years are those prior to 1991 as the following year classes are extremely poor. Several years’ protection and growth of these year-classes could have caused the higher abundance and densities recently encountered along the continental slope and pelagic in the Norwegian Sea. These year classes need to be protected as they offer the only opportunity of increasing the spawning stock for a number of years to come.
A directed pelagic fishery for deep-sea redfish (S. mentella) in international waters of the Norwegian Sea has developed since 2004. This fishery increased to record levels in 2006, and the total catch in 2006 was 33 thousand tonnes, the highest level since 1991. The total catch of S. mentella declined to 20 thousand tonnes in 2007 and 14 thousand tonnes in 2008. It is doubtful whether this catch level is in accordance with the precautionary approach.
Golden Redfish (Sebastes marinus)
In the absence of defined reference points the state of the stock cannot be fully evaluated. Surveys (Figure 4.3.23) and commercial CPUE show a substantial reduction in abundance and indicate that the stock at present is historically low. The year classes in the last decade have been very low and declining. Presently, this stock is in a very poor condition. Given the low productivity of this species, this situation is expected to remain for a considerable period.
More stringent protective measures should be implemented, such as no directed fishing and extension of the limited moratorium implemented on this stock, as well as a further improvement of the trawl bycatch regulations. It is also of vital importance that the juvenile age groups are given the strongest protection from being caught as bycatch in any fishery, e.g. the shrimp fisheries in the coastal areas as well as in the Barents Sea and Svalbard area. This will ensure that the recruiting year classes can contribute as much as possible to slowing the decline of the stock. Golden redfish (S. marinus) is currently being caught in a directed fishery and as bycatch in the pelagic trawl fisheries for herring and blue whiting in the Norwegian Sea. Better statistics on this bycatch, and regulations to prevent this continuing, are needed.
The catches have been around 7,000 t for the last 7 years, a level which seems to cause a continued decline of this stock.