posted on December 15, 2000 05:48
For Greenland and the fisheries around Greenland, one of the most pronounced and extremely important fluctuations in abundance of marine resources was shown by cod in Greenland waters during the 20th century. The present paper reviews the cod fisheries during this century for which official statistics exist since 1910. From 1925, data were collected and published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and, from 1950, by the regional fisheries organizations International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF) for 1950-79, and Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) for years since 1979.
The official published catch statistics are given in terms of nominal catches, i.e. landed weight, for instance gutted, heads-on fish converted to corresponding weight of round, fresh fish. The conversion factors themselves set by each country participating in the fisheries varied somewhat among countries. A critical review of the conversion factors is given as well as of other factors, and in quite a number of cases, amendments to the officially published statistics are presented.
The total cod fishery in Greenland waters is reviewed by various identified components:
1. The local Greenland fishery, until the mid-1960s a coastal and inshore small-boat fishery by hand- and long-lines and pound nets. From the mid-1960s large liners fished offshore and since 1968 large trawlers have fished offshore.
2. A Faroese land-based fishery by small boats operating mainly offshore but close to shore and mainly by hand lines.
3. An offshore fishery by liners, dory vessels (from Portugal) and trawlers. The Faroese operated liners and trawlers besides the land-based small boats mentioned above (2).
The fisheries are reviewed country by country, including a review of fleets and effort, and of tendencies in temporal and spatial distribution of the fishery.
The fisheries regulations are reviewed. The offshore area open to non-Greenlandic fleets was outside 3 naut. miles until 1963, then 12 naut. miles until 1977 when the 200 naut. mile Exclusive Economic Zone was introduced. TACs and catch quotas were introduced in 1974.
Total catch of cod at West Greenland peaked by about 460 000 tons in 1962. After 1968, catches decreased rapidly, and since 1973 it has been below 100 000 tons. The exploitation for cod at East Greenland began when modern trawlers, mainly from Germany, started fishing there in the mid-1960s. The catch at East Greenland until 1995 has generally been much below that at West Greenland for the period reviewed.
Over the total period (1910-95) 16 different nations have participated in the cod fisheries at Greenland landing a total of about 10 million tons. The coastal state Greenland has taken about 15% of that total, while the biggest share has been taken by Portugal (2.09 million tons or 21% of total).
Adverse environmental factors, for instance relatively low temperature of upper water layers since about 1968 seem to be the main reason for the recent drastic decline of the stock size. Low larval productions at Greenland and relatively low transport of larvae from Iceland to Greenland waters have resulted in a period with lower recruitment than earlier in the century. It seems like the good period of the 20th century has come to an end, with no signs of an immediate and long lasting rebuilding of a Greenland cod stock to the levels seen in the mid part of the century.
Language - English
Publisher - Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Oragnization (NAFO), Dartmouth, N.S., Canada
Publication Date - December 2000
Publication Type - Journal Article