The main impact of the Coldfish project will be provision of information to assist fishery management. This will be achieved through close collaboration with partner organisation the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, particularly through the TIBIA (Trophic Interactions in Barents Ecosystems) programme. TIBIA is a joint Norwegian-Russian initiative, and through close integration with TIBIA we will ensure that results are shared through Norwegian and Russian fisheries scientists.
Fisheries provide the main ecosystem service arising from the Arctic: the Barents Sea Atlantic cod quota is 0.8-1.0 Mt/yr with an estimated catch value of Euro 2 billion/yr. Scientific advice assisting sustainable management of cod and other commercial fisheries in the Barents Sea is of prime importance to Norwegian and Russian managers. This will be fostered through our strong links with the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).
Traceability is a key emerging issue in global fisheries, with consumer demand driving retailers and suppliers to ensure products are derived from named sustainable fisheries. Fraud is relatively common in fisheries retail networks. However, genetic testing reveals levels of species mislabelling in excess of 20%. Geographic origin is an increasing important component of traceability, particularly in capture fisheries where geographic origin and sustainable management are inexorably linked. Stable isotopes are commonly used to establish geographic origin in terrestrial food products, but a lack of reference isotopic data has limited their use in marine retail chains.
Development of the isoscape has great potential for traceability of fishery products. Coldfish will benefit from ongoing collaboration with Young’s, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Seafish (sea fisheries industry body) and by enhancing these links will build impact on the industry and planning agency. Together with an extensive database on stable isotope spatial variation, the isoscape will provide reference values for identifying Barents origin fish and fishery products. CoI Trueman is already working with Young’s Ltd and Seafish to develop forensic tests for fishery products, and Coldfish will support this development extending to Norwegian and Russian fishery managers who help sustain much of the world’s cod production.