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Shrimp (Pandalus borealis)

19.03.2013 // Shrimp are small animals that live on the floor of oceans and lakes. There are over 2 000 different species of shrimp worldwide. The largest stocks occur in the West Atlantic off Canada and Greenland. The remaining part of catches originate largely from the somewhat smaller stocks found off Iceland, in the Barents Sea and the North Sea.

Fishery in the Barents Sea and the Svalbard zone

The Norwegian shrimp fishery in the Barents Sea and the Svalbard zone started in 1970. Russian vessels entered the fishery in 1974. The catches increased continuously until 1984, when it reached 128 000 tons. By that time, vessels from other states had also entered the fishery. Since then, biomass and yield levels have fluctuated according to cod consumption and effort in the fisheries. The most important fishing ground is the Hopen area in the central Barents Sea. States that are permitted to fish for shrimp in the Svalbard zone are Canada, the EU, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Russia and Norway.

The shrimp stock in the Barents Sea has been at a relatively high level since 2005, and ICES has the last years recommended an annual catch up to 60 000 tons. Due to market challenges and low prices, the total annual catch has been just over 20 000 tons the recent years, only slightly more than a third of the scientists' recommendations.

Fishery in the North Sea

This fishery is divided in the two areas of North Sea and Skagerrak. The shrimp fishery in this area has annual landings of approximately 13 000 tons by vessels from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The fishery is conducted by multi-purpose fishing vessels largely trawling south of 62ºN. 

Regulations and by-catches

The shrimp fishery is regulated by effort control. Licenses are required for the Russian and Norwegian vessels, and third-country fleets operating in the Svalbard zone are regulated by the number of effective fishing days and the number of vessels by country. The minimum stretched mesh size is 35 mm. Other species are protected by mandatory sorting grids and by the temporary closing of areas with excessive bycatch of juvenile cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, and redfish.

The shrimp fishery in the Fisheries Protection Zone around Svalbard was first regulated in 1996. This was done because the expansion of the fishery over the previous few years and the growing size of the fleet had resulted in concern that the stock might be overexploited. The allocation of fishing days in the regulations adopted is a number of fishing days by the relevant states. In the Svalbard zone, fisheries are regulated in terms of the number of fishing days allocated to individual countries.

The maximum number of fishing days was further reduced by 30% in 2006.


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