Based on the most recent estimates of fishing mortality and SSB, ICES classifies the stock as having full reproductive capacity, but being harvested unsustainably. SSB increased to a historical high in 2003 but has decreased since, and is expected to be just above Bpa in 2009. The estimated fishing mortality is well above Fpa. Recruitment in the last decade appears to be at a much higher level than earlier, but has decreased in the last couple of years. Total landings in 2007 were 1.6 mill. tonnes, which is lower than in 2006. Blue whiting is not fished in the Barents Sea.
The high abundance of blue whiting in the Barents Sea (Figure 4.3.29) in recent years may be due to increased temperature. Blue whiting has been observed in the western and southern Barents Sea for many years, but never in such quantities, and never as far east and north in this area as in 2004-2007. In autumn 2008, the acoustic abundance of blue whiting was estimated to 0.1 million tonnes, which is much lower than in 2007. Thus, the abundance of blue whiting in the Barents Sea is expected to stay at a low level until the recruitment to the stock increases again.