Icelandic cod stocks: cautious optimism

orskurThe 2008 cod stock in Icelandic waters was the strongest it has been since annual research trips began in the autumn of 1996; but preliminary figures this year are slightly less optimistic.

The Icelandic Marine Research Institute has just released the final report on its autumn 2008 research mission which suggests that the cod stock last year might well have been higher than the long-term average since 1955 – a remarkable fact given the increase in cod consumption and improvement in fishing technology since 1955.

The first indicators from the 2009 study appear to show a return to levels below the long-term average, but nonetheless strong when compared to the average since 1996. According to, the increase in cod stocks can partly be attributed to restricted fishing quotas in recent years aimed at saving the declining fish stock.

Comparing this year’s results to the 1985-2009 average, it seems there are a larger number of cod over 70 centimetres in length – which reinforces similar findings in 2008, when researchers found more large fish than ever.

The average weight of cod fish has increased since 2007 in all age groups and is now at or above the autumn research average between 1996 and 2009 for fish aged three and older.

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