The Safina Center

Coho salmon.Coho salmon.Photo taken by: Carl Safina

Some problems exist with this species' status or catch methods, or information is insufficient for evaluating. Capelin (Masago, Smelt Roe) – Canada

Capelin is a small, schooling species that lives in cold waters. They are found in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with their range extending to the waters around the North Pole. Capelin grow fast, reproducing at 2-3 years of age, and then they die.

In the Canadian Atlantic, the abundance of Capelin relative to sustainability targets is unknown. Management of the Capelin fisheries is moderately effective and catch limits are in place.

Capelin are caught with purse seines, trap nets, and seine nets. These fishing methods cause low damage to bottom ocean habitats. However, the fisheries catch some species of concern including Atlantic Cod, Atlantic Salmon, and marine mammals.

Capelin are an important source of food for many seabirds, marine mammals and commercially important fish species, so Capelin fisheries could affect ocean food webs and ecosystems. Canadian scientists and managers have taken some steps to assess the ecological role of Capelin.

Full species report here.