Plaice is one of the commercially most important target species that are fished in the North Atlantic. What makes this flatfish equally significant for both fishermen and fish lovers is not only its excellent meat quality but also the available biomass. Following the low in the 1990s plaice stocks have in the meantime recovered significantly. Nearly 150,000 tonnes are currently caught per year under the ongoing management plan.
Northern shrimp or Coldwater shrimp (Pandalus borealis) which is found all around the Arctic is the most frequent and economically important species of the decapod genus Pandalus. The firm, tender flesh of this coldwater shrimp is deemed particularly tasty. Despite its relatively small size it has been targeted by the fishing industry since the early 20th century. However, the stocks have been declining for several years, probably as a result of global climate change.
The common squid (Loligo vulgaris) and other cephalopod species are of economic significance, especially in southern Europe. Landings from the fishing sector are decreasing, however. For one thing, because the size of the squid populations is strongly influenced by environmental factors, and for another probably because squid are too intensively fished. There is no effective fisheries management, although this would be urgently needed.
The ice-cold northern seas are not only the home of king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus), but also of queen crab, also known as snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio). The snow white meat of the long spiderlike legs has an intense, slightly salty yet delicate flavour. The queen crab fishery is sustainable, and annual landings add up to well over 110,000 tonnes.