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No capelin fishing in the Barents Sea

Norway and Russia have agreed to protect the diminishing capelin stocks in the Barents Sea and set next year´s quota to zero.

On Friday the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission agreed on the quotas for 2016. The quotas for cod will stay approximately at the same level as in 2015 (894,000 tons), and for other sorts of fish, the changes are minor, NRK reports.

The biggest change is that there will be no fishing for capelin in the Barents Sea next year. Norway and Russia last year established quotas on capelin twenty times higher than the researchers´ recommendations, and now the Barents Sea stocks are critically low.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) had recommended fishing of just 6,000 tons of capelin in 2015, but the joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission anyway decided to go for total quotas of 120,000 tons.

Besides being popular among Russian consumers, capelin is used for fish meal and fish oil products, and is also very important in the food chain in the Barents Sea as food for cod, marine birds and marine mammals.

The Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission this time chose to listen to the experts´ recommendations that there should be no fishing of capelin in the Barents Sea in 2016. Models show that the stock will be under critical levels in 2016 even without fishing.

During the recently finished ecosystem mission to the Barents Sea the scientists did not find much capelin, Georg Skaret, who is an expert on capelin at Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, says to the institute´s web site.