Arctic Fisheries Working Group



ExpertGroup_1.aspxAFWGTrueBjarte BogstadACOMbjarte.bogstad@imr.no28Arctic Fisheries Working Group

Arctic Fisheries Working Group (AFWG) performs assessments of cod, haddock, saithe, redfish, Greenland halibut, and capelin stocks in ICES areas I and II (Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea).

​​​​​​AFWG assesses the stocks of Northeast Arctic cod, haddock, saithe, and Greenland halibut as well as Barents Sea capelin, Norwegian coastal cod, and Sebastes marinus and Sebastes mentella in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea (ICES Sub-Areas I and II). Most of the assessments are analytical, but survey-based and trends-based assessments are also used. The survey-based capelin assessment is carried out by a subgroup which meets at the beginning of October immediately after the survey is completed.

AFWG first met in 1959 and is the longest running ICES group still in existence. The group meets in April each year to assess the stocks and provide advice. About 20-25 scientists attend each meeting, mainly from Norway and Russia but also from EU countries and Canada.

The AFWG report includes a comprehensive chapter on ecosystem considerations. Interactions between species are also taken into account, and predation by cod on capelin, haddock and cod (i.e. cannibalism) is included in the assessments of these three stocks.

The advice provided on Northeast Arctic cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, and Barents Sea capelin is used by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission (JNRFC) (more information on The advice for Norwegian Coastal cod, Northeast Arctic saithe and Sebastes marinus is used by Norway, while the advice for Sebastes mentella is currently used by both JNRFC and NEAFC.

Most stocks assessed by AFWG are at present in good shape, and the Northeast Arctic cod in particular is currently at a level not seen since the 1950s. The two exceptions are Sebastes marinus and Norwegian coastal cod, with the Sebastes marinus stock doing very poorly at the moment.

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