EU reviews fish stocks prior to 2015 quotas

In a communication, dated 28th October 2014, the EU Commission reports on present fish stocks in EU seas:

Iberian waters:

On the one hand anglerfish biomassbiomass The amount of living matter. This is therefore a different measure to numbers of organisms. So, for example, there is much more biomass in 1 elephant than there is in 1000 fleas and there may be more biomass in 100 large cod than you would find in 150 small (because of over fishing) cod. is increasing and the stock is exploited at sustainable levels. On the other hand the stock of megrims has deteriorated and several Norway lobster functional units remain depleted. As regards Southern hake, biomass continues to increase despite fishing pressure remaining high which, in accordance with the relevant management plan, results in a small TAC [Total Allowable Catch] cut and the corresponding effort reduction.

Bay of Biscay:

The state of the sole stock is deteriorating. Over the past years scientists have been advising on TAC reductions. In 2013 ICES considered precautionary long-term management measures put forward by stakeholders. The 2014 TAC is based on those measures aimed at keeping the TAC constant while gradually bringing down fishing mortality to sustainable levels. Since fishing mortality increased in recent years the TAC should be reduced in 2015.

Celtic Sea and English Channel:

High levels of discarding are a persistent problem in this area, both in the whitefish and the flatfish fisheries. Accordingly, scientific advice calls for significant TAC cuts e.g. for cod and haddock. As regards sole in the Eastern English Channel, priority must be given to implement urgent measures to recover this stock: recruitment has been low over the last two years and the long-term viability of the fishery is at risk.

West of Scotland:

As a result of the ICES benchmark for haddock in 2014, the stock of haddock in the West of Scotland (ICES areas Vb and VIa) is considered a part of the biological stock assessed in ICES areas III and IV . Therefore a single advice for all these areas is provided. The TAC must remain in “pro memoria” (pm) in the proposed regulation while appropriate allocations to Member States are determined. As for cod and whiting, they remain in poor condition with discards still in the region of 70% for both species. The situation may be worsened by the advice on Norway lobster, to be released in autumn: discards of whitefish originate mostly in the latter fishery. Commitments made as regards selectivity measures have had no discernible impact so far: ICES has not been able to identify any change in mortality as a result of these measures.

Irish Sea:

Cod and whiting remain in poor condition, although selectivity for the Norway lobster fleet seems to have produced some results for these two stocks; still, ICES advice identifies high discards here. Sole remains overfished and at its lowest recorded spawning biomass; exploitation should remain at a low level. In contrast, plaice is under-utilised and widely discarded, but the stock is stable.

The Kattegat:

As regards cod in the Kattegat, the advice for 2015 is similar to the one for 2014, i.e. that on the basis of precautionary considerations there should be no directed fisheries of this species in this area, and by-catch and discards should be minimised. ICES insists particularly on the need to improve selectivity as a matter of urgency: discard estimations in 2013 were the highest in record since 1997.

North Sea:

The stocks of cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, plaice, mackerel and herring in the North Sea are jointly managed with Norway, so the TACs and the quota allocations will be fixed following the EU-Norway consultations in November and December. Of these stocks, cod continues to recover, but very slowly. Whiting and saithe are both declining, with the saithe biomass falling below precautionary limits for the last three years. Haddock remains stable, with a fishing mortality below MSY levels, but poor recruitment in recent years. The stock of plaice continues to increase, and is now at the highest levels on record. As for stocks that are not shared with Norway and whose TAC levels are already specified in this proposal, the stock of sole is slowly increasing, though fishing mortality is just above MSY levels, so the applicable management plan calls for a slight TAC reduction. The stocks of Norway lobster in the North Sea show an overall increase.

Source: EU Communication, 28th October 2014. For the full details, see:

Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS