Report of the Joint Russian-Norwegian Working Group on Arctic Fisheries (JRN-AFWG) 2023
Howell, Daniel; Bogstad, Bjarte; Chetyrkin, Anatoly; Fall, Johanna Jennifer Elisabeth; Filin, Anatoly; Hallfredsson, Elvar Halldor; Höffle, Hannes; Johannesen, Edda; Kovalev, Yuri; Mikhailov, Andrey; Russkikh, Alexey; Stesko, Aleksi; Vasilyev, Dmitri; Vihtakari, Mikko; Windsland, Kristin; Yaragina, Natalya
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On 30 th March 2022 all Russian participation in ICES was temporally suspended. Although the announcement of the suspension stressed the role of ICES as a “multilateral science organization”, this suspension applied not only to research activities, but also to the ICES work providing fisheries advice for the sustainable management of fish stocks and ecosystems. As a result of the suspension, the ICES AFWG provided advice only for saithe, coastal cod north, coastal cod south, and golden redfish ( Sebastes norvegicus ). Northeast Arctic (NEA) cod, haddock and Greenland halibut assessments have been conducted outside of ICES in a newly constituted Joint Russian-Norwegian Working Group on Arctic Fisheries (JRN-AFWG). Although this work has been conducted independently of ICES, the methodologies agreed at ICES benchmarks and agreed HCRs (Harvest Control Rules) have been followed in providing this advice. The Greenland halibut model has been revised at an ICES benchmark in 2023. The JRN-AFWG has agreed to use the new ICES model, with the addition of revising the Russian survey tuning index (as was recommended at the benchmark). Although the overall biomass level in the model has been revised, the trends and advice are similar to the old model. The Greenland halibut advice is for one year to bring the timing back in line with the slope survey, after this a two-year advice cycle will resume. The main worry with that stock is a history of TACs and catches well above advice. Given that the model is now indicating that the stock will drop below B pa by the end of 2023, continuing to set quota above advice poses a risk of serious harm to the stock.