BALTIC SPRAT STOCK WITHIN BIOLOGICALLY SAFE LIMITS
Baltic sprat stock within biologically safe limits. The research expedition of the Atlantic branch of VNIRO (AtlantNIRO) to assess the stock of sprat in the Baltic Sea has come to an end. The scientific voyage took place from May 15-27, 2021 in the south eastern part of the Baltic Sea.
As part of the expedition, in accordance with the ICES programme, a trawl-acoustic survey was carried out to assess the stock and abundance of sprat (sprat) recruitment in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the territorial sea of Russia in the 26th ICES sub-area of the Baltic Sea. The Spring International Trawl Acoustic Survey (BASS) is carried out annually by all Baltic countries. Russia performed such work for the first time after a long break (since 2008, there was only one survey in 2015).
During the expedition, materials were collected on the size and age composition, biological state, nutrition and distribution of pelagic fish. Hydrological, ichthy, and zooplankton surveys were carried out, samples were collected for parasitological and technological research.
According to the results of the research, the scientists concluded that the state of the sprat (sprat) population is within biologically safe limits, the estimated biomass of the species in the spring of 2021 corresponded to the value of October 2019, and the number of recruits (generation 2020) was the average yield. Important data on the abundance and biomass of sprat in Russian waters have been obtained, which will make it possible to give a representative assessment of the state of the sprat stock in 22-32 ICES subareas of the Baltic Sea.
The research materials will be presented to the ICES Working Group on Surveys in the Baltic Sea in March 2022, used to estimate the TAC values for sprat, and will be included in the ICES databases.
For the first time, after a long break, the acoustic survey of sprat in the Baltic Sea, conducted by Russia in May 2021, provided the necessary minimum of scientific information to assess and predict the state of the sprat stock in order to solve the complex of tasks of state management of the most demanded Russian fishing resource, its conservation and rational use.
The data obtained during the expeditions are the basis for both correct assessments of the sprat stock and measures to regulate its fishing in the Baltic. In addition, regular research makes it possible to justify an increase in the share of the Russian quota, to form a position in protecting the interests of Russian fisheries in the field of stock management, and to increase the authority of the Russian Federation in international organisations.
An additional task of the expedition was to collect up-to-date data on the size composition and biological characteristics of the spawning part of the cod stock. The information obtained confirmed the new qualitative state of the cod population with the dominance of mature small-sized individuals in its reproductive potential.