Climate change gives record cod catch

Cod in Northern Norway

The Arctic cod stocks have not been this big since 1948. The reason is climate change which brings warmer water into the Norwegian and Barents Seas.

According to marine researchers, the cod stocks in the Barents Sea now grow with about one million tons per year. That is 300 percent more than in 1999, newspaperDagens Næringsliv reports.

-The studies we have done indicate that the resource basis in the Barents Sea is very good, and that should open up for major fishing in the years to come, Research Directors at the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research Reidar Toresen told the newspaper.

He is absolutely confident that the record big cod stocks have come in the wake of the warmer sea temperatures in the Norwegian Sea, the main spawning area of the North Atlantic Arctic cod. Water temperatures in the area is up to two degrees higher than in the 1960s.

With continued human-made climate change, the water temperatures in the region will continue to increase, which will bring the fish stocks to new heights. That will include also other species than the cod.

Following the trend, international marine researchers now recommend an increase in 2010 cod quotas in the Barents Sea to 577,500 tons which is an increase of more than 50 tons from 2009.

Over the last 60 years average annual catch has been 650,000 tons. The catch in 2008 was 464,000 tons, the Institute of Marine Research informs. It is Norway and Russia which in their joint fishery commission set quotas in the Barents Sea.