North East Arctic Cod
The North East Arctic cod stock is found along the warm side of the polar front thought the Barents Sea and is the largest cod stock in the world. Spawning occurs in February-April along the Norwegian coast, but especially near the Lofoten Islands and the Møre region. Here spawning aggregations are formed after mature fish (7-8 years old) undertake large-scale migrations of as much as two thousand km. Cod can display very high fecundity and can spawn up to 19 million egg per female. After spawning, eggs and larvae are carried with the current into the Barents Sea, where young of the year fish settles to the bottom in late autumn. Here, young cod (age 0–2) feeds mainly on zooplankton but older cod prey upon fish and benthic organisms. Due to the high abundance, wide distribution and omnivorous feeding, the northeast Arctic cod is an important predator influencing trophic links in the Barents Sea ecosystem
Yaragina NA, Aglen A, Sokolov KM (2011) Cod. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 225–270
Norwegian spring-spawning herring
The Norwegian spring-spawning herring is distributed across the northeast Atlantic. The herring reaches a maximum length of 40 cm, can weigh up to 500 g and live 25 years. Thei main spawning sites are located in coastal banks from Møre to Nordland and spawning occurs from February-March. After larvae are hatched, they drift northwards with the currents along the coast into the Barents Sea. The herring is a key species across its distribution as it transfers energy from secondary production by preying on zooplankton, to tertiary production as it is a forage fish for cod, saithe, marine birds and whales, among others.
Krysov IA, Røttingen A (2011) Herring. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 215–224.
North East Arctic haddock
The North East Arctic haddock represents the largest haddock population in the world and is found along the Norwegian coast, from the north of Stad into the Barents Sea. It reaches a maximum length of about 110 cm and a weight of 14 kg. Haddock becomes sexually mature at a length of about 40-60 cm, when they are about 4-7 years of age. Like cod, haddock are highly fecund. They spawn from March to June. The main spawning grounds are located on the west of Tromsøflaket, a fish bank off north-Troms. After spawning, the mature haddock migrates to the north and east along the main branches of warm Atlantic currents. The pelagic eggs are transported by currents into the Barents Sea. The immature haddock migrate from east to west every summer and winter until reaching maturity, when it joins the spawning migrations. Haddock feeds mainly on benthic organisms but also on fish and fish eggs. (refs: IMR, Barents Sea Eco)
Russkikh AA, Dingsør GE (2011). Haddock. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 271-280.
Capelin (Barents Sea)
Capelin is a specialized plankton feeder and is the most important planktivorous fish in the Barents Sea. They reach a maximum length of 22 cm and may live up to seven years. Several species fish prey upon capelin including cod, haddock, but also marine mammals including as seals and whales. The Barents Sea capelin stock is restricted to the Barents Sea and adjacent waters. Here, capelin reaches maturity at a length of 14 cm, at about 3-5 years old. The main spawning event occurs in March-April along the coast of Norway and Russia, from about 15° to 37°E depending on water temperature. Capelin are mostly semelparous, i.e. they spawn only once in their lifetime and most individuals dye after spawning. A 20 cm capelin can produce up to 20 000 eggs. The eggs hatch after about one month, and then larvae drift with the prevailing currents northwards and eastwards into the central and eastern Barents Sea. Decreasing autumn temperatures and formation of ice triggers capelin migrations southwards, to overwintering areas south of the Polar Front where there is no ice. In spring, mature capelin migrate from these areas to the coast in order to spawn.
Gjøsæter H, Ushakov NG, Prozorkevich DV (2011) Capelin. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 201–214
North East Arctic Saithe (Pollachius virens)
The North East Arctic saithe is found mainly along the Norwegian coast, from Stad to the Kola Peninsula. In the summer months (June-August) mature saithe extend its distribution into the northwestern and central Barents Sea for feeding upon herring spawning migrations. The main prey items for young saithe are copepods, krill and other crustaceans while older fish gradually prey more on fish. Saithe can reach a maximum size and weight of about 130 cm and 20 kg respectively and can live up to 30 years. The species become sexually mature as early as age 4 years and by age 9 all fishes are matured. The most important spawning grounds in Norwegian waters are located outside the Lofoten area, the banks outside Helgeland, Møre and Romsdal, and Tampen and the Viking Bank in the North Sea. Spawning occurs in January-April, with eggs and larvae been transported northwards by the currents ((refs: IMR, Barents Sea Eco)
Mehl S, Zuykova NV, Drevetnyak KV (2011) Saithe. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 281–291
Sand eel (Ammodytes marinus)
There are five sand eel species in the Norwegian territorial waters, the most abundant been the Lesser sand-eel Ammodytes marinus. Sand eels live most of the time buried in sandy bottoms along eating small planktonic crustaceans, fish eggs and fry along the Norwegian coast and the Barents Sea, up to the polar front. They are small size fish, with maximum size of about 24 cm and maximum weight of 100 gr. Sand eels can live up to 10 years and they mature when they are 3-4 years at a size of 14 cm. They spawn during the winter, a remarkable feature of these species as they perform bibernation. Spawning areas have been documented from the fishing bank “Vikingbanken” to the Danish coast, Dogger, Great Britain and near the Shetland Islands.
Bergstad OA, Høine ÅS, Krüger-Johnsen (2001). Spawning time, age and size at maturity, and fecundity of sandeel, Ammodytes marinus, in the north-eastern North Sea and in unfished coastal waters off Norway. Aquatic Living Resources 14: 293−301
Polar cod (Boreogadus saida)
Polar cod has a circumpolar distribution as is the most abundant planktivorous fish in the Arctic. The Barents Sea hosts one the largest polar cod stocks, with the species distributing from Svalbard to Novaya Zemlya. This small fish species has a maximum size and weight of 25 cm and 100 gr respectively, and they can live up to five years. As with capelin, polar cod is a forage fish that play a key role in transferring energy form lower to higher trophic levels. Polar cod are opportunistic feeders preying upon copepods, amphipods and euphausiids. These fishes are an important prey item for several fish species, marine mammals and cod. Polar cod become mature at about age 3-4 years and at a length of 15-20 cm. Spawning occurs in December-March at two separate areas of the Barents Sea: an area east of Svalbard and an area southwest of Novaya Zemlya. Most spawning is assumed to be conducted under sea ice or close to the ice edge as the stable physical conditions under the sea ice are thought to protect eggs. After spawning, eggs and larvae drift in a north- and northwest direction. Egg development might last from 1.5 to 5 months, depending on the temperature and hatching occurs at the time when ice starts to break.
Aune, Raskhozheva E, Andrade H, Augustine S, Bambulyak A, Camus L, Carroll J, Dolgov A, Hop H, Moiseev D, Renaud PE, Varpe Ø (in preparation) Distribution and ecology of polar cod (Boreogadus saida) in the eastern Barents Sea.
Ajiad AM, Oganin IA, Gjøsæter H (2011) Polar cod. In: Jakobsen T, Ozhigin VK (eds) The Barents Sea. Ecosystem, resources, management. Half a century of Russian-Norwegian cooperation. Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim, pp 315–328
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