Based on the most recent assessment, ICES classifies the stock as having full reproductive capacity, but the fishing mortality is too high to be sustainable. The spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been above MSY Btrigger since 1990, increasing since 2000 and reaching the series maximum in 2011. Fishing mortality has been around FMSY since the mid-1990s. However, fishing mortality was above the precautionary level in 2012. Recruitment-at-age 3 has been at or above average since 2000. The year classes 2004–2006 are estimated to be very strong and are now dominating the spawning stock. Surveys indicate that the year classes 2008, 2010, and 2012 are below average, while 2009 and 2011 year classes are above average.
Harvest control rule
The agreed harvest control rule (HCR) gives a quota of 150 000 tonnes for 2014. This is determined by the clause in the HCR that the TAC should not change more than 25 % if the spawning stock biomass is above the precautionary level.
ICES recommends following the HCR.
IMR support the ICES advice, but emphasize the uncertainties in this assessment related both to catch and survey data. There have been reductions in biological sampling of both Norwegian and Russian commercial catches, which increases the uncertainty in the assessment.
In the Joint winter survey 2013, Norway wanted to rent a commercial fishing boat in addition to the research vessel Johan Hjort. However, due to low cod prices and payment in quotas, no commercial vessels were interested in participating. To compensate for fewer vessel days, it was decided to open up the Norwegian station grid (i.e. the stations were placed farther apart). Due to good weather and extra effort from the Russian vessel, the total coverage was good, but a lower number of stations increase the uncertainty in the estimates.
The winter survey is shown to have uncertain abundance estimates of ages 8 and older and one possible explanation for this is that most of the mature fish have migrated out of the survey area. This is supported by an observation this year that a large amount of mature haddock were found further south during the Lofoten survey.
Concern has been raised in 2013 about an increase in discards of haddock caused by the increasing ratio between cod and haddock quotas.
Total stock biomass of haddock had a peak in 2010, while the SSB peaked in 2011. The assessment indicates that the stock will decrease to a more normal level as the recruiting year-classes are on a much lower level than the strong 2004-2006 year-classes. Thus, further quota reductions are expected in 2015.
Blim = 50 000 tons
Bmp = Bpa = 80 000 tons
Fmp = 0.35
Flim = 0,77
Fpa = 0,47
Expected fishing mortality in 2013: F = 0.56
Expected spawning stock in 2014: 178 000 tons