Lobster Stocks Historically Low Skip to content

Lobster Stocks Historically Low

Lobster numbers in Icelandic waters have reached a historic low, RÚV reports. Numbers of lobsters under five years old are particularly low, showing the stock may be having trouble reproducing.

“We are at almost eight years where young lobsters have been little to none. And there are few populations that can handle that for long.” Jónas Páll Jónsson, ichthyologist at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute stated. Norway lobster, also known as langoustine, is the only type of lobster found in Icelandic waters. While langoustine can be found as far south as the coast of Morocco, they reproduce slower in colder environments. Females in Icelandic waters lay eggs only every other year.

While five years ago, 2,000 tonnes of lobster were caught in Icelandic waters, last season the amount was just 820 tonnes. A lobster fishing ban is one measure authorities are considering to combat the issue, as well as closing off lobster nesting areas to other kinds of fishing activity.

A lobster fishing ban would be a blow to at least three companies who provide employment to many Icelanders over the 7-8 month season of fishing and processing. Vinnslustöðin, in the Westman Islands, is one of those companies. “People get employment out of this and lobster is a valuable product. The income it generates is truly important. It would be a blow if we couldn’t catch any lobster,” said Sverrir Haraldsson, a department manager at the company.

Jónas says more research is needed to know exactly what is happening to the lobster stocks. Continued fishing, in modest amounts, could provide scientists with helpful data.

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