Impact of deep-sea fishery for Greenland halibut

Jan 28, 2014
Geenland Halibut Credit: Jesper Boje

Since the late 1980s, a deep-sea fishery for Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) has been developing gradually in West Greenland.

Deep-sea fish are generally long-lived and characterized by late age of maturity, low fecundity, and slow growth, features that probably cause low resilience following overexploitation. In order to evaluate whether populations of nine potential bycatch species are negatively affected by the commercial fishery for Greenland halibut, from bottom-trawl surveys conducted in the same area and period as the commercial fishery were analysed.

During the period 1988–2011, population abundance and size composition changed as catch and effort in the Greenland halibut fishery increased. Two species showed a significant decrease in abundance, and four populations showed a significant reduction in mean weight of individuals (p < 0.05).

Greenland Halibut. Credit: Jesper Boje

Correlation analyses show that most of the observed trends in abundance are probably not related to increasing for Greenland halibut.

The analysis did, however, show that most of the observed decreases in mean weight were significantly correlated with fishing effort during the 24-year period.

Explore further: From Tar Sands to Ring of Fire—forewarning changes to Canada's watersheds

More information: Ole A. Jørgensen*, François Bastardie and Ole R. Eigaard, "Impact of deep-sea fishery for Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) on non-commercial fish species off West Greenland", ICES J. Mar. Sci. (2014) DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fst191 First published online: January 2, 2014

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