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Abstract

Description of the Faroe Bank Ecosystem and the exceptional fast growing cod living on the Bank.
The Faroe Bank Cod
The Faroe Bank is located approximately 75 km
southwest of the Faroe Islands. It is separated from
the Faroe Plateau by the 20 km narrow and 850 m
deep Faroe Bank Channel. At the shallowest part,
the Bank is c. 95 m deep. The water masses are
mainly circulating on the Bank. These topographic
and hydrographic properties have led to the fairly
isolated and independent ecosystem, called Faroe
Bank. This isolation has caused various types of
specialization of morphological and physiological
nature, and different genetic properties of some of
its fish and other organisms living on the Bank. The
most famous of these is the Faroe Bank cod.
Eyðfinn Magnussen
University of the Faroe Islands
Faroe Bank
Growth pattern of cod
Faroe Bank
S. Iceland
Faroe Plateau
4.2 kg
1.9 kg
1.7 kg
most famous of these is the Faroe Bank cod.
Seabed condition
Most of the seabed on the Faroe Bank is
covered by shellsand and sand. The Faroe Bank is well-known for its large
cod. The fast growth is especially
Size of Faroe Bank fish
compared to other areas
Average weight of 3-year-old cod caught in
different areas around the Faroe Islands.
Faroe Plateau
E. Iceland
W. Greenland
1.7 kg
0.9 kg
0.7 kg
cod. The fast growth is especially
pronounced during the first years of life,
before the cod reach sexual maturity, at an
age of 3 years and 75 cm in length. After
this, the growth rate slows down and
becomes comparable with that of cod on the
Faroe Plateau. Compared to cod in 18 other
stocks in the North Atlantic, a 3 year old cod
from the Faroe Bank has twice the length of
those in the other stocks.
Also the other residential fish species on the
Bank are fast growing compared with those
in other areas.
Fish is the preferred food of cod on the Faroe
Bank, contributing 59% of the diet by weight, on
average. Of the fish, sandeel is the most
common species, but in some years squids and
crustaceans are also an important part of the
diet. However, investigations have reveal that
the feeding habits change considerably from
one year to another, both quantitative as well in
composition.
Feeding habits
Bottom temperature
7.5
8.0
8.5
9.0
1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007
Hitin umrið
9.0
9.4
9.8
10.3
10.7
11.1
11.5
Hitin um heystið
In the spring, the bottom temperature on the Faroe Bank
is around 7-8°C, in the autumn, around10-1C. This is
1-2 °C warmer than on the Faroe Plateau.
Autumn ( °C )
Spring ( °C )
© Eyðfinn Magnussen
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