Lobster stocks around Iceland’s coast are so low a fishing ban is not out of the question, Fiskifréttir reports. Stocks estimates have not been so low since 1980. Young lobster numbers have been on the decline since 2005 and have never been measured as low as they are currently.
Jónas Páll Jónasson, ichthyologist at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute, presented a lecture on the topic last week. “We have never seen a situation like this,” told Fiskifréttir, adding that the stocks are declining “at a frightening speed.” Jónas Páll says there is no question whether lobster fishing will be banned in the near future, “it’s only a question of when it will happen. We have reduced them steadily.”
Norway lobster, also known as langoustine, is the only type of lobster found in Icelandic waters. Langoustine can be found as far south as the coast of Morocco. They reproduce slower in colder environments, and females in Icelandic waters lay eggs only every other year.
The most successful lobster season occurred in 1963 when 6,000 tonnes of crayfish were caught between May and July. In recent years catches have been on the decline, despite the usage of new fishing grounds and an extended season. In 2017, a total of nine trawlers fished for lobster around Iceland between March and December. Seven of them caught around 100 tonnes.