Capelin (Mallotus villosus)


Capelin is a cold water species and the most ecologically important fish in Icelandic waters. It links the food web between zooplankton and larger fish or baleen whales. Comprising 40% of a cods diet, for example. The capelin spawning grounds are in the South and Southwest of Iceland. The larvae then drift to North Iceland towards Greenland. Once they reach sexual maturity they condense and migrate clockwise around Iceland. Once they spawn all the males die and most of the females.

Average length from catches: 15-18 cm
Age reaching sexual maturity: 2-4 years
Average life span: Max age is ~ 25 years
Spawning Season: Late winter
Habitat: Pelagic
Diet: Zooplankton
IUCN world status: Not Evaluated
Threats: Climate change, overfishing
Other Names: Loðna, Lodde, Capelan, Capelan atlantique, Lodna, Capelán, Capelim, Mjva