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Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)

19.03.2013 // Greenland halibut is a long-lived species which can only sustain low exploitation. The stock has been at a low level for several years, but there are indications of an increase in recent years. During this period, mean catches have been around 13 000 tons.

The 38th Session of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission in 2009 decided to cancel the ban against targeted Greenland halibut fishery and established a TAC at 15 000 tons for next three years (2010-2012). The TAC was allocated between Norway, Russia and other countries with shares of 51, 45 and 4 per cent respectively. The TAC for 2013 is set to 19 000 tons. The Norwegian quota for 2013 is 9675 tons. 

Management technical regulations of the fishery

From 1992, the Greenland halibut fishery has been restricted to vessels smaller than 28 meters using long-line and gillnet. This fishery is also regulated by seasonal closure. Strictly by-catch regulation have reduced the total landings of Greenland halibut by trawlers from 20 000 to 5000–10 000 tons.

Regarding to the set TAC from 2010 trawlers can fish directly for Greenland halibut. Landings of Greenland halibut from the directed long-line and gillnet fisheries have increased in recent years to well above the level of 2500 tons set by the Norwegian authorities up to 2010. 

Ecosystem/Biology

Greenland halibut is distributed in the Arctic and boreal waters of the North Atlantic and the North Pacific. In the North-East Atlantic, the distribution is more or less continuous along the continental slope from the Faeroe Islands and Shetland to the north of Spitsbergen. The highest concentrations are found from 500 to 800 meters depth between Norway and Bear Island, which is also regarded as the main spawning area. Peak spawning occurs in December in the main spawning area, but also in nearby areas during summer. 

About the fishery

Before the mid 1960s, the fishery for Greenland halibut was mainly a coastal long line fishery off the coast of eastern Finnmark and Vesterålen in Norway. In recent years, gillnets have also been used in this fishery, and landings have varied from 3000 to above 6000 tons. As an effect of introducing international trawlers in the fishery in the mid 1960s, the total landings increased to about 80 000 tons in the early 1970s. 

Bestandskart Blåkveite/Greenland halibut


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