Off the coasts of Norway and Russia, the Barents Sea is one of the most productive and economically important fishing regions in the world.
A collaborative approach
Before MSC certification a fishery improvement project (FIP) was set up by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The FIP helped the fisheries tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, by working with seafood buyers, governments and other stakeholders. International collaboration is also key for the sustainability of these fisheries and management is overseen by the joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission.
Sustainability and science
Since 2010 over 85% of Russian cod and haddock fisheries have become MSC certified. These certified fisheries continue to work in partnership with government scientists and NGOs to reduce the impact of their fishing gear on seabed habitats. Through collecting data on bycatch, fisheries are helping identify areas that could benefit from voluntary closures. The fisheries are also engaged with the Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography, who are developing fishing gear that minimises impact with the seabed.
Cod in a changing climate
The recent increase in cod biomass is not only down to good management, climate effects have also played a part. Increases in temperature have been beneficial for North East Arctic cod and have increased adult cod numbers.
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