The Norwegian authorities expect to licence ten vessels to fish for calanus. Image: Calanus AS (via Fiskebåt)

Norwegian fishing vessel operators’ federation Fiskebåt has voiced its concern over some aspects of the decision to license a fishery for copepods (calanus) in Norwegian waters.

Minister of Fisheries Harald T Nesvik recently announced a 254,000 tonne quota for copepods, with as many as ten licences to be allocated to Norwegian fishing vessels, under certain conditions and requirements.

Fiskebåt is critical of the decision to allow this experimental fishery to take place in coastal regions, warning that as copepods are fished with very fine mesh gear, this will inevitably also catch eggs, larvae and fry of other stocks.

A consultation letter from Fiskebåt to the Ministry states that not enough is known about the consequences of a potential by-catch.

‘Copepods are a resource that should be managed like any other,’ said Fiskebåt’s director Audun Maråk.

‘But there needs to be an even greater margin of safety as plankton stocks are the basis of the food chain. We must make sure that this does not affect other traditional fisheries. It is crucial that all harvesting of marine resources should be carried out in a prudent manner.’