Based on the most recent estimates of SSB and fishing mortality, ICES classifies the stock as having full reproductive capacity and being harvested sustainably. The 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2004 year classes dominate the current spawning stock which is estimated to 12.6 million t in 2009. Preliminary indications show that the year classes 2005-2008 are below average. Therefore the abundance of herring in the Barents Sea is believed to be at a relatively low level in 2009.
This stock has shown a large dependency on the occasional appearance of very strong year classes (Figure 4.3.27). In recent years the stock has tended to produce strong year classes more regularly. However, if strong year classes should become more intermittent, the stock is expected to decline.
Norwegian spring-spawning herring is fished along the Norwegian coast and in the Norwegian Sea, but not in the Barents Sea. However, juveniles from this stock play an important part role in the ecosystem in the Barents Sea.