The AFWG of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) assesses the stocks of Northeast Arctic cod, haddock, saithe, and Greenland halibut as well as Barents Sea capelin, Norwegian coastal cod, golden redfish, and beaked redfish in the Barents Sea and Norwegian Sea (ICES Sub-Areas I and II).
Most of the assessments are analytical, but survey-based and trends-based assessments are also used. AFWG first met in 1959 and is the longest running ICES group still in existence.
The group meets in April each year to assess the stocks and provide advice. About 20-25 scientists attend each meeting, mainly from Norway and Russia but also from EU countries and Canada.
The advice provided on Northeast Arctic cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, and Barents Sea capelin is used by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission (JNRFC). The advice for Norwegian Coastal cod, Northeast Arctic saithe and golden redfish is used by Norway, while the advice for beaked redfish is currently used by both JNRFC and NEAFC.
Most stocks assessed by AFWG are at present in good shape, and the Northeast Arctic cod in particular is currently at a level not seen since the 1950s. The two exceptions are golden redfish and Norwegian coastal cod, with the former stock doing very poorly at the moment.
The group will meet at the Thünen-Institute of Sea Fisheries in Hamburg-Altona from 23 to 29 April.