Main Icelandic Fish Stock Species

Icelandic marine ecosystem is the key pillar to the Icelandic export industry, as the major supplier of seafood fish stocks. Stringent measures by the Icelandic fisheries management have been put in place to advocate for responsible fishing. This is in order to maintain a sustainable supply of sea stock whose major threat is overfishing.

Spanning to an expansive area of 758 000 square km Iceland forms one of the richest fishing destinations in the world. The growth of this ecosystem is attributed to the extensive research on the stock species and biodiversity which informs decisions made in Icelandic marine research institute.

The main fish stock species found in Icelandic are grouped into four major categories; Cod, flatfish, herring fishes, gristle fishes, and other fishes. The following exposition discusses their biological specifications of some selected species.

Cod (Gadus Morhua)

Most valuable of all the Icelandic fish stocks is Cod. Drastic measures to safeguard this species have been developed and is under a real-time refinement over the years. Some of these measures like releasing them into fishery at the age 4-6 and the use of a regulated trawl mesh 130-155mm to reduce the catch of toddler fish.

Gadus Morhua grows over a meter long with medium lifespan and a mature fish weigh up to 20-30 kg. Maturing at a typical age ranging 7-9 years, cod have maintained a mortality rate at 0.2

Cod prey on small crustaceans like capelin, shrimps and sandeel and are an accomplished omnivorous in their ecosystem. The size and weight of cod is apparently pegged on the abundance of the aforementioned prey. Typically, cod species is not a prey to any sea animals except that older cod may potentially be vulnerable to some sea mammals. Cod is coloured brown and green, shading on the ventral side and some spots on the dorsal with a lateral line conspicuously visible.

Cod spawn during late winter in the south-West regions, from here the larvae migrates to the north where there is a diversity of food resources. This food diversity is the reason for Cod’s biological success. As the larvae grow larger, their main diet changes to benthic invertebrates. When they attain the size 20-30cm they drift o shrimp although this is not the limited diet. At maturity, other diets like capelin and red fishes are added to their diet.

Haddock ( Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

Haddock is also an Iceland famous fish mostly traced in the sides of North Atlantic. It is known for its popularity as food stock widely consumed and used for commercial purposes. Haddock rather belongs to the family of codfish. Their size 50-60cm in length with ostensible largest size ever caught was 112 cm.

Haddock is abundantly found in all areas of the Iceland waters and migrates often to north coast during warm periods and to the south coast during cold periods. These species can easily be recognized by their lateral line black in colour running along the white skin surface. This feature can easily be confused with Pollock which has the opposite characteristics-white line on a black skin surface.

Artic Char ( Salvelinus alpinus)

Char is a member of the salmon community and can be traced in Iceland and other areas like Canada and Greenland. Dwells in entirely freshwater and adapts to extreme cold conditions with an abundance of oxygen. It can relatively live also in seawater mixed with fresh water. These extreme cold conditions make Char grow essentially at a slower rate. This slow growth is good in the development of lean but firm meat excellent for human food.

Supply of Char is relatively limited since their fisheries are only available at wild summer Fish lands. This rare but essential species feed on high-quality products which can sustain a steady growth pattern at extremely low temperatures. The feed encompasses soy protein, capelin fish meal, wheat vitamins, among other mineral supplements. Veteran producers of this species attest to the high standards of conditions this fish stock is maintained with of course no use of any antibiotics.

Monkfish (Lophius piscotarius)

Notably found in the Northeast Atlantic. They refer to various types of genus Lophius and angel shark. European are accustomed to calling it sea monk. Growing to 5 ft. i.e. 1.5 m with common species at 1m or rather 3ft.

Monkfish comes with large head, conspicuous mouth and sharp teeth. It has been categorized among the ugliest fish in the sea. Regardless of the undesirable look, this is, however, a valuable fish for its weight per se. Most obviously monkfish is a predator fish owing to its sharp teeth feeds on a variety of other fishes. It dwells at the bottom of the sea and lies in wait of the prey, it is swift and capitalizes on its enormous mouth.

Catfish (Anarhichas lupus)

Anarchichas is rather a long fish sized 50-60 cm with the largest ever caught in the Icelandic waters was 125 cm. Found in entirely all the Iceland but more parts of West Fjords, peninsula forms the major habitation for this species. Mostly found deep in the mud or sand at depths of 40-200m. It has immensely strong jaws and teeth, it calls for great caution for fishermen who can dangerously be harmed should they handle it carelessly.  So to say, these strong jaws and teeth are used to smash shellfish and echinoderms which are catfish’s main food. Besides the former, catfish also feed on capelin when abundant.

Golden redfish (Sebastes marinus)

This is an exceptionally common and commercially useful fish Iceland waters have ever resourced. In length, they are 30-40 cm in catch stage but up to 100 cm with up to 15 kg are exceptionally available. These enormous sized individuals are referred to as centennial redfish owing to them being onerously old. Some of these old, large redfishes, however, belong to other stock species than the ordinary golden redfish.

Younger (juveniles) golden redfish are usually found at north coast while the majority of them spread across the expansive Iceland waters especially bottom areas. They dwell on the bottom sides of the ocean during the day and rests at hot water column mostly at night. Due to this biological feature, they are therefore categorized as benthopelagic.

Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)

Plaice are flatfish medium in size, their dark skin is exquisitely smooth with red-orange spots. Their underside is white in colour. Ever recorded the largest size is 85 cm but normal market size based on the usual catches is 30-50 cm. Plaice spreads normally across expansive Iceland waters from the sea level to up to 200m of depth of mud or sand.

Plaice can relatively tolerate freshwater environs for a reasonable amount of time. In European nations, it can be traced to White and Barents Seas and in the sides of the north-western parts of the Mediterranean Sea. Plaice are known for posturing migrations around the Iceland marine ecosystem.

Ling (Molva molva)

Ling grows potentially to a very enormous size largest ever recorded was 212cm in length. Not numerously found in colder sides of the north and east of the Iceland waters and spreads across all the other parts. Their dwelling spans between 15-1000m deep. The juveniles dwell on the shallower surface of the water.

They are classically adapted to predatory life with sharp teeth to prey other fishes. Their major target prey is herring, flatfishes and codfish. They also have a tendency to rely on invertebrates when the former is in short supply. Their spawning happened at the continental shelf break in the west and southern parts of Iceland mostly in the months of May and June. Their sexual maturity is attained at age 5-8 years when their size commensurate at 60-80cm long. Their age potentially troops to 25 whopping years.

References

Astthorsson O. S., Gislason A., Jonsson S. 2007. Climate variability and the Icelandic marine ecosystem. Deep‐Sea Research II 54, 2456–2477.

Clucas, I. 1997. A study of the options for utilization of bycatch and discards from marine capture fisheries. FAO Fisheries Circular. No. 928. Rome, FAO. 1997.

Einarsson, H. A., Hreinsson, E., and Jónsson, S. Þ. 2007. Direct observations of large mesh capelin trawls;evaluation of mesh escapements and gear efficiency.ICES CM 2007/Q:12.

Engilbertsson, V. 2012. The Food Intake of Iceland Cod ( Gadus morhua) over the Summer Season, BS dissertation, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, 23 pp.

Fiskistofa. 2013. Home, Announcements, The first day of inshore fishing. Dalshrauni 1 220 Hafnarfirði. Iceland.

Fiskistofa. 2013. Home, Forms, Transfer of fishing opportunities. Dalshrauni 1 220 Hafnarfirði. Iceland.

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