Journal Article

Collapse of the fishery for Iceland scallop (<i>Chlamys islandica</i>) in Breidafjordur, West Iceland

Jónas P. Jonasson, Gudrun Thorarinsdottir, Hrafnkell Eiriksson, Jon Solmundsson and Gudrun Marteinsdottir

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 64, issue 2, pages 298-308
Published in print March 2007 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online December 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsl028
Collapse of the fishery for Iceland scallop (Chlamys islandica) in Breidafjordur, West Iceland

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Jonasson, J. P., Thorarinsdottir, G., Eiriksson, H., Solmundsson, J., and Marteinsdottir, G. 2007. Collapse of the fishery for Iceland scallop (Chlamys islandica) in Breidafjordur, West Iceland. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 298–308.

The stock index of the Iceland scallop (Chlamys islandica) in Breidafjordur on the west coast of Iceland has declined drastically in recent years. Total fishing mortality was very high throughout the study period from 1993 to 2003, a period characterized by a steady increase in summer sea surface temperature, in 2003 reaching the highest estimated level of the previous century. Between 1998 and 2005, estimates of chlorophyll a (food availability) fluctuated with periods of low chlorophyll followed by a reduction in muscle weight and high natural mortality. High levels of natural mortality were observed in the main fishing area in the southern part of Breidafjordur. There the stock index had been declining since 1994. Recruitment to the fishable stock was highly variable during the study period, with low recruitment towards the end of the 1990s. Subsequently the fishery has been on relatively few year classes, and the stock has been fragile because of several years of poor recruitment and high natural mortality. Consequently, the stock appeared unable to withstand the fishing pressure and declined to historically low levels, leading to a halt to fishing in 2004.

Keywords: Chlamys islandica; fishery collapse; Iceland scallop; mortality; recruitment; temperature

Journal Article.  6179 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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