Outlook for fisheries in the North Basin in April 2008
In April 2008 the fishery conditions in the Barents Sea are forecasted to be fairly non-stable with a possible decrease of the efficiency on the bottomfish grounds. The bulk of large cod, haddock and saithe will be located within the territorial waters of Norway, therefore some of the fleet, especially vessels without modern trawl systems, will have to move to more northern grounds of Spitsbergen or more eastern grounds of the Grey Zone and the Russian EEZ. However, the bulk of the cod, haddock and saithe stocks in the course of April will be still harvested within the Norwegian EEZ.
On the grounds of blue whiting the total harvest may considerable decrease due to closure of the fishing season to the west of the British Isles and a period of the fleet's movement to the Norwegian Sea to the southern part of the Faroese fishing zone (60-61 degrees North). The fleet is expected to start moving to the north more actively by the end of the first ten days - start of the second ten days of April.
By the middle of the month the vessels awaiting a start of the abundant deepsea fishery of ocean perch Sebastes mentella in the Irminger Sea are expected to finish all their preparations. The traditional area for spring fishery is located along the south-west border of the Icelandic fishing zone. By the end of April 2007 the group of fishing vessels operating in the Irminger Sea grew to 12 in number, of which 7-10 ships came from Kaliningrad. However, in 2008 the abundant fishery of ocean perch is expected to start later.
In 2006 at the 25th session of the NEAFC the sides agreed to set the ocean perch TAC 2007 at 46,000 tonnes, of which 2875 tonnes can be harvested in the NAFO zone. At the same time no more than 29,900 tonnes or 65% of the TAC could be harvested in the northeast part of the Irminger Sea until 15 July 2007. Then the session failed to agree on the principles of the TAC's distribution into national quotas therefore, according to the order of Russia's Ministry of Agriculture No.477 dated 22 December 2006, the national quota of the Russian Federation for the year 2007 was approved at 29,480 tonnes of ocean perch Sebastes mentella in the Irminger Sea. ICES thinks that in the recent years the area's ocean perch stock has been notably decreasing. The Advisory Committee on Fishery Management working under the ICES has even recommended suspending pelagic fishery of ocean perch already from 2007 until the stock recovers. In autumn 2007 ICES recommended conducting S.mentella fishery with the harvest limited to 20,000 metric tons.
At the 26th session of the NEAFC the TAC of ocean perch S.mentella for the year 2008 was not agreed. The main reason behind that was in the absence of pelagic fishery management agreements between the participating countries. The sides only agreed to introduce a temporary ban for the pelagic fishery of ocean perch in the Irminger Sea from 1 January 2008 till 1 April 2008.