The landings of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the eastern Baltic Sea in the early decades of the 20th century were below 50 thousand tonnes and therefore lower than in recent years at very low stock size. These low landings have largely contributed to a perception that the stock size was also low before the 1950s. In this investigation, we demonstrate that cod spawning stock biomass in the years 1925-1944 fluctuated in a similar range as in the periods from the 1950s to the mid-1970s and from the late 1980s onwards and was in most of these years at least twice as high as at present. Fishing mortality before the 1940s was below 0.2, but reached moderate levels during the Second World War. The stock size before the war may be considered as a reference level of biomass at low fishing impact, providing important information for the management of fisheries and the Baltic ecosystem.
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|