Less mackerel in East Greenland than in 2014

The mackerel survey ended today. Mackerel were found in East Greenland waters from Dohrn Bank in the north to South of Cape Farewell. However, the abundance was estimated to be lower this summer compared to last summer.


By:  PeMi

The temporarily survey results (see figure) suggests that the migration from the spawning areas west of the British Isles to Greenland has been delayed and shortened. This is likely related to the cold spring in the North Atlantic. The mackerel stock is furthermore estimated to be slightly smaller this year than in 2014.

The temporarily survey results are in accordance with the commercial fishery by the Greenlandic fleet, which has experienced late arrival of the mackerel and lower catch rates in July and early August than in the same period in 2014.

Greenland Institute of Natural Ressources (GINR) chartered the Icelandic research vessel Arni Fridriksson and the Icelandic pelagic trawler Birtingur to conduct the survey. Unfortunately, sampling with Birtingur had to be cancelled due to an engine failure short after leaving harbour. Despite the substantial reduction in ship time, the biologists on board Arni Fridriksson managed to cover the entire survey area except the area south-west of Greenland.

The Greenlandic survey of mackerel, whales and plankton is coordinated with similar investigations in Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland. The biologists are now analyzing the combined data and their conclusions will be published after a scientific expert group meeting in the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in Copenhagen from 18th August to 20th August 2015.

The results contribute to the international assessment of the mackerel stock in the North East Atlantic. GINR is represented in the team of scientists that assess the mackerel stock. The final catch advice for 2016 is given though ICES in early October.

The collected data will also be used in negotiations about quote sharing agreements between Greenland and the other mackerel nations.

Background information: The Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) migrates to the Nordic Seas, including the Greenlandic zone, every summer to feed on zooplankton. The overwintering and spawning areas are primarily found west of the British Isles. One of the aims with the biological research at GINR is, in turn, to be able to provide an early indication or forecast of the mackerel fishing opportunities in Greenland.


For further information, contact:

Researcher in Department of Fish and Shellfish Teunis Jansen on phone number +45 61308828 or email: teja@natur.gl

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Figur 1: Mackerel catches (kg per 30 min standardized trawling) and the survey route in Greenlandic and Icelandic waters. Circles indicate the size of the catch and black cross-hairs indicate trawling without any mackerel in the catch.