ICES recommend lower quotas for pelagic species in 2021

But catching nations unilateral quotas predicted to be higher 

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has released its catch advice for main pelagic species in the Northeast Atlantic in 2021. In total, it is recommended a 7% decrease compared 2020.  

The 2021 total allowable catch (TAC) advice for the Norwegian spring-spawning (NSS) herring is a 24% increase to 651.033 tonnes compared to 2020. Since the catching nations for years have set unilateral quotas which have exceeded ICES’ advice, we expect actual catch this year to be around 695.000 tonnes.  In 2019, the agreed quotas exceeded advice with 31% and catches ended close to that the agreed quotas. Despite higher catches than recommended the past years, the NSS herring stock is considered healthy, and a good year class of 2016 allows the researchers to increase the advice for 2021. 

For the Atlantic mackerel, ICES recommend an 8% decrease to 852.284 tonnes in 2021.  According to ICES, the decrease is due to a downward adjustment of the total spawning stock. For years, the actual Atlantic mackerel catches have exceeded the recommendations as the fishing nations set unilateral quotas. In 2020, the difference between ICES advice and the unilateral agreed TAC was nearly 170.000 tonnes.  
Following ICES’ advice, Blue Whiting catches should be cut by 20% to around 929.300 tonnes. The 2020 advice was 1,16 million tonnes while the sum of the individual quotas was 1,48 million tons.  

TAC advice for North Sea herring was set earlier this year and shows a 13% decrease from 2020. 

Like for 2019 and 2020, there will be no capelin fishery in the Barents Sea in 2021 neither. 


Image: Shutterstock, Krasowit