Spatially explicit estimates of stock sizes, structure and biomass of herring and blue whiting, and catch data of bluefin tuna
- 1Institute of Marine Research, Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
- 2Centers for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, and Ocean Life, National Institute for Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), Technical University of Denmark, 2920 Charlottenlund, Denmark
- 3Ifremer, rue de l'île d'Yeu, BP 21005, 44311 Nantes CEDEX 3, France
- 4Marine Research Institute, Skulagata 4, 121 Reykjavik, Iceland
Abstract. The North Atlantic is a productive marine region which has supported important commercial fisheries for centuries. Many of these fisheries have exploited the pelagic species, including herring, blue whiting and tuna. Here we present data on the distribution of herring and blue whiting based on the international ecosystem survey in the Nordic Seas (IESNS), the bottom trawl survey in the Bay of Biscay and Celtic Sea (EVHOE) and the pelagic survey in the Bay of Biscay (PELGAS). We also present catch data on bluefin tuna, which has been depleted for decades but historically used to be a key predator on the other pelagic stocks during summer. The results show that there were substantial changes in the herring and blue whiting distribution during the 1990s and early 2000s. The earliest bluefin tuna catches noted were in 1907. The catches in the Norwegian Sea area peaked in the 1950s and there have been very small catches since the 1980s. The reported catches in the Mediterranean, on the other hand, peaked in the late 1990s and subsequently had a strong reduction.