Norway and Russia have recommended a 20% cut in the Barents Sea cod quota and a 5% drop in the haddock quota for 2023.
It comes as researchers from Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, which monitors fish stocks, estimate that the spawning stock of cod is now around 800,000 tonnes, the lowest since 2008.
According to the scientists, no more than 566,784 tonnes should be caught in 2023, 20% less than this year. Last year the quota was also 20% lower than the previous year.
“The cod population is falling, but we believe it will stabilise if our recommendations are followed”, says Bjarte Bogstad, a scientist for the northeast Arctic cod stock at the Institute of Marine Research.
“The reduction in the recommended quota is limited by a management rule that prevents the quota from being cut by more than 20%”.
The "max 20% rule" is considered a sustainable compromise between stability for fishers and long term yield.
A quota of 566,784 tonnes would be the lowest it has been since 2009.
The size of the stock has fallen every year since 2013, and the researchers most recently warned that it would continue to fall in last year’s quota advice.
"We expect the stock to continue the decline also into the next quota before it levels out," says Bjarte.
“The cod population in the Barents Sea remains large and important, but the boom is over,” he continues.
The researchers also recommend a quota of up to 170,067 tonnes for Northeast Arctic haddock, 5% lower than in 2022.
Norwegian and Russian authorities will set the final quotas through the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission.