The Northeast Atlantic sustains a number of pelagic fish stocks, the most important of which are Norwegian Spring Spawning (NSS) herring, Northeast Atlantic blue whiting and Northeast Atlantic mackerel. The stocks are located in Russian, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese and EU waters, but the large scale distribution pattern varies and is related to total stock sizes and water temperatures. All stocks are classified as straddling stocks in the sense that they not only cross boundaries between the EEZs of coastal states, but also traverse the high seas areas between those boundaries.
The migratory patterns of these stocks have undoubtedly made it more difficult to attain and to uphold international agreements on catch quotas. While agreements on less migratory demersal stocks (cod and haddock, for example) between Russia and Norway have remained unchanged since the early 1980s, the agreements on the pelagic stocks have sometimes broken down or taken long time to establis. Although the literature on straddling fish stocks is extensive, with several contributions in recent years, few studies address these issues in a multispecies context. The present work will be a step toward closing this gap by developing a framework for game theoretic analysis of such systems.