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Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou): behaviour and distribution in Greenland waters


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Marine ecosystems
Project topic
Fish and shellfish

Fieldwork / Study

Fieldwork country
Greenland (DK)
Fieldwork region
Greenland, Mid-East
Fieldwork location

Geolocation is 71.706936, -42.604303

Fieldwork start
Fieldwork end

Project details

Science / project plan

PhD thesis.. Blue whiting is a mesopelagic gadoid species, widely distributed in the North-Atlantic. The fishery has been one of the largest in the world, with average catches of 1.7 million t in the 2000s (ICES 2014). However, the stock size has fluctuated greatly throughout the latest decades (Payne et al. 2012), affecting both fishery, management and the advice procedure. Greenland waters are generally considered as a border area of blue whiting distribution and the blue whiting is only caught sporadically within the Greenland exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In the most recent years it has been a more frequent by-catch in research surveys and the commercial fishery, similar to several other pelagic species in Greenland waters (e.g. mackerel (S. scombrus) and bluefin tuna (T. Thynnus), GFLK 2014). Blue whiting could therefore become an additional target species for the growing pelagic fleet in Greenland. In order to understand fluxes in blue whiting stock size and improve the short term forecasts for management advice, a better understanding of the whole life cycle is necessary. In particular, very little is known about blue whiting in Greenland waters. The existing data has not been analysed or published. This PhD project aims at generating life history information concerning the blue whiting in Greenland waters and to attain information on its role for the pelagic ecosystem as a whole. Several methods will be applied, including: mapping of the distribution in Greenland waters, modelling of drivers affecting the presence, zooplankton and stomach content analyses, stable isotope analysis to estimate trophic position and hydroacoustic measurements calibrated by trawl hauls to describe and quantify vertical migration and distribution.