Investigations on demersal fish in the Svalbard area autumn 2002, with special attention on juvenile Greenland halibut
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Institute of Marine Research in Bergen started in 1996 a program to investigate to what degree Greenland halibut's nursery grounds extended to the north and east of Spitsbergen, and Norwegian vessels executed this survey until 1999 with coverage with some stations into the Russian EEZ in 1998 and 1999. The annual meeting between Russian and Norwegian scientists decided to extend this survey to a joint survey, and the first year with joint effort with a Russian and a Norwegian vessel was year 2000. The survey was conducted as a traditional bottom trawl survey with main focus on Greenland halibut, but also analyses were carried out for cod, redfish and long rough dab. The main results in 2002 were: Ice condition was much worse than in 2001 and similar to that in 2000. Water temperature north of Spitsbergen was higher than in 2001, but in the east, in the large area between Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land, it was lower than in 2001. The highest estimations of young Greenland halibut abundance for the whole period of observations since 1996 were obtained. Abundance of Greenland halibut year classes continues to increase. The year class of 2001 is the highest on record. Growth rate slowdown of halibut young age groups was registered. Cod abundance in the area of research increased compared to the year of 2001 owing to individuals 20-34 cm long (2-3 year-olds). Abundance of red fishes is at the low level and decreased significantly compared to that in 2001. Abundance of long rough dab, especially of the smallest individuals, has been decreasing since the year of 2000.
SeriesIMR/PINRO joint report series
9 - 2002