The percentage of marine fish (quota) stocks fished below maximum sustainable yield has increased from 12% in 1990 to 53% in 2015. As of 2012, 44% of national shellfish stocks (non-quota) were exploited beyond maximum sustainable yield.

Background

Europe has a long history of commercially exploiting marine fisheries resources. Historically, the overexploitation of fish and shellfish stocks led to reductions in potential yield. In response, a range of national and international management measures to protect and conserve marine fisheries resources were implemented. Measures that help to limit fishing mortality include setting catch quotas, fishing effort controls, and vessel licensing to ensure that stocks are exploited sustainably with high long-term yields. Achieving Good Environmental Status requires that fishing mortality (denoted ‘F’) is at or below the level capable of producing maximum sustainable yield (denoted ‘MSY’).

This indicator assessment is an evaluation of the temporal trends in the exploitation level of stocks of UK interest with respect to the fishing mortality target: FMSY (or its proxy). The aim is to increase the proportion of stocks fished at or below FMSY and reduce to zero the number of stocks of unknown status relative to FMSY. Since marine fish (including Nephrops) are subject to international quota and national shellfish stocks (crab, lobster, and scallop) are not, these two groups are considered separately. The objective is for all populations of commercially exploited fish and shellfish to be within safe biological limits indicative of healthy stocks.

Further information

Political commitments to achieve the sustainable exploitation of marine fisheries resources have been specified in two major pieces of European environmental legislation. Firstly, the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy was launched in 1970 with the objective of ensuring that fishing is environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable (European Commission, 2013). An important component of the Common Fisheries Policy is that stocks should be exploited sustainably to provide the maximum sustainable yield, defined the maximum catch that can be taken annually without reducing stock productivity, by 2020. Secondly, the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive was established in 2008 to protect the marine environment and ensure the sustainable use of marine goods and services by achieving Good Environmental Status of marine waters by 2020 (EU Commission, 2008). Fulfilling the Marine Strategy Framework Directive’s objective of achieving Good Environmental Status is consistent with the Common Fisheries Policy requirement that fishing mortality is at or below the level capable of generating maximum sustainable yield.

Most commercially exploited fish and Nephrops (Norway lobster) stocks in Europe are monitored and assessed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and are subject to internationally agreed quotas. In UK waters, national assessments are undertaken for crab and lobster stocks (Cefas 2015a; 2015b; Mesquita and others, 2016) and scallops (Dobby and others, 2012; ICES 2015). Fisheries management advice for assessed stocks is based on estimates of fishing mortality and biomass relative to reference points for long-term sustainability (ICES, 2016). Reference points include the fishing mortality required to achieve maximum sustainable yield (denoted ‘FMSY’). Assessment methods vary between stocks according to the quantity and quality of the available data. All available data for UK stocks are considered equally in the indicator assessment.

Marine Fish (Quota) Stocks

Stocks considered here are given in Table 1. Assessed stocks have been classified by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea into one of six data categories depending on the availability of data collected under the European Union Data Collection Framework (ICES, 2012). The categorisation of the stocks reflects the decreasing availability of data, and conclusions on fishing mortality and stock biomass are typically less certain as the category increases.

Table 1. Marine fish (quota) stocks of UK interest.

Stock Description

Data type

Assessment method

Method description

Nephrops in Divisions IVb and IVc Botney Gut/Silver Pit (FU5)

Data-Limited

Data-limited method for Nephrops

Potential harvest rates given habitat

North Sea Megrim in Divisions IVa and VIa

Data-rich

Bayesian state-space biomass dynamic model

Fully quantitative

Whiting in Division VIb (Rockall)

Data-Limited

NA

NA

Cod in VIb Rockall Plateau

Data-Limited

NA

NA

Pollack (Pollachius pollachius) in Subareas VI-VII (Celtic Seas and the English Channel)

Data-Limited

DCAC (Depletion-Corrected Average Catch)

Commercial landings trend

Sprat in Subarea VI and Divisions VIIa-c and f-k (Celtic Sea and West of Scotland)

Data-Limited

NA

NA

Black-bellied anglerfish in Divisions VIIb,k, and VIIIa,b,d

Data-Limited

Survey CPUE and landings

Trends based

Anglerfish in Subareas IV and VI and Division IIIa

Data-Limited

Survey CPUE and landings

Trends based

White anglerfish in Divisions VIIb,k, and VIIIa, b, d

Data-Limited

Survey CPUE and landings

Trends based

Ling in Subareas VI-IX, XII, and XIV, and in Divisions IIIa and IVa

Data-Limited

Commercial CPUE and landings

Trends based

Megrim in Division VIb

Data-Limited

Survey CPUE and landings

Trends based

Megrim in Divisions VIIb,k and VIIIa, b, d

Data-Limited

Statistical catch at age model

Trends based

Plaice in Divisions VIIf,g

Data-Limited

Survey-based assessment

Survey-based trends

Whiting in Division VIIa

Data-Limited

Survey-based assessment

(SurbaR)

Survey-based trends

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Subarea IV and Divisions VIId and IIIa West (North Sea. Eastern English Channel. Skagerrak)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Divisions VIIe-k (Western English Channel and Southern Celtic Seas)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

Data-rich

Analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Division VIa (West of Scotland)

Data-rich

Analytical age-based assessment (TSA)

Fully quantitative

Spurdog in the Northeast Atlantic

Data-rich

Age-length and sex-structured model (De Oliveira et al., 2013)

Fully quantitative

Haddock in Subarea IV and Divisions IIIa West and VIa (North Sea. Skagerrak and West of Scotland)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (TSA)

Fully quantitative

Haddock in Divisions VIIb.c.e-k

Data-rich

Age-Structured Assessment Programme (ASAP)

Fully quantitative

Haddock in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

Data-Limited

SURBA analysis based on survey information

Survey-based trends

Haddock in Division VIb (Rockall)

Data-rich

Analytical age-based assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Herring in Subarea IV and Divisions IIIa and VIId (North Sea autumn spawners)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Herring (Clupea harengus) in Divisions VIa and VIIb.c (West of Scotland. West of Ireland)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Herring in the Celtic Sea and South of Ireland

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (ASAP)

Fully quantitative

Herring in Division VIIa North of 52° 30N (Irish Sea)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (FLSAM)

Fully quantitative

Herring in Subareas I. II. V and Divisions IVa and XIVa (Norwegian spring-spawning herring)

Data-rich

Statistical assessment model (XSAM)

Fully quantitative

Hake in Division IIIa. Subareas IV. VI and VII and Divisions VIIIa.b.d (Northern stock)

Data-rich

Length-based model (SS3)

Fully quantitative

Horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) in Divisions IIa. IVa. Vb. VIa. VIIa-c. e-k. VIII (Western stock)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (Linked Separable Adapt VPA)

Fully quantitative

Mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic (combined Southern. Western and North Sea spawning components)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical model (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division VIa (North Minch. FU 11)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division VIa (South Minch. FU 12)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in the Firth of Clyde + Sound of Jura (FU 13)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division VIIa (Irish Sea East. FU 14)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division VIIa (Irish Sea West. FU 15)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division VIIb.c.j.k (Porcupine Bank. FU 16)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division IVb (Farn Deeps. FU 6)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division IVa (Fladen Ground. FU 7)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division IVb (Firth of Forth. FU 8)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Nephrops in Division IVa (Moray Firth. FU 9)

Data-rich

Underwater TV survey combined with yield-per-recruit analysis from length data

Fully quantitative

Plaice in Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (Aarts and Poos, 2009)

Fully quantitative

Plaice in Division VIIe (Western Channel)

Data-Limited

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Survey-based trends

Plaice in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

Data-Limited

Age-based assessment model (Aarts and Poos, 2009)

Survey-based trends

Plaice Subarea IV (North Sea)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) in Subareas VI and VII, and Divisons Vb and XIIb

Data-rich

Bayesian surplus production model covering only Division 5.b and subareas 6 and 7

Fully quantitative

Saithe in Subarea IV (North Sea) Division IIIa West (Skagerrak) and Subarea VI (West of Scotland and Rockall)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Sole in Divisions VIIf. g (Celtic Sea)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Sole in Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Sole in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Sole in Subarea IV (North Sea)

Data-rich

Statistical catch-at-age model with flexible selectivity functions

Fully quantitative

Sprat in Subarea IV (North Sea)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SMS)

Fully quantitative

Blue whiting in Subareas I-IX. XII and XIV (Combined stock)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (SAM)

Fully quantitative

Whiting Subarea IV (North Sea) and Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Whiting in ICES Division VIIb. c. e-k

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (XSA)

Fully quantitative

Whiting in Division VIa (West of Scotland)

Data-rich

Age-based analytical assessment (TSA)

Fully quantitative

National Shellfish Stocks

Stocks considered here are given in Table 2. National assessments are completed every three years, currently FMSY reference points are not available for the majority of stocks.

Table 2. National shellfish stocks of UK interest. The King scallops stocks (*) are proposed stock units (ICES, 2016).

Species

Stock

Species

Stock

Velvet crab

Necora puber

Clyde

Lobster

Homarus gammarus; Palinurus elephas

East Anglia

East Coast

Northumberland and Durham

Hebrides

Southwest

Mallaig

Yorkshire and Humber coast

North Coast

Clyde

Orkney

East Coast

Papa Bank

Hebrides

Shetland

Mallaig

South East

North Coast

South Minch

Orkney

Sule

Papa Bank

Ullapool

Shetland

Brown crab

Cancer pagarus

Clyde

South East

East Coast

South Minch

Hebrides

Sule

Mallaig

Ullapool

North Coast

King scallops

Pecten maximus*

Irish Sea

Orkney

 

Cardigan Bay

Papa Bank

 

Celtic Sea

Shetland

 

Western Channel N

South East

 

Western Channel S

South Minch

 

Eastern Channel N

Sule

 

Central North Sea

Ullapool

 

West of Kintyre

Celtic Sea

 

Northwest

Central North Sea

 

Northeast

Southern North Sea

 

Shetland

Western Channel

 

Orkney

Queen Scallops

Aequipecten opercularis

West of Scotland and Irish Sea (VIa and VIIa)

 

Clyde

 

East Coast

Assessment method

A total of 57 marine fish stocks (including Nephrops stock units) and 59 national shellfish stocks of UK interest in the North East Atlantic Ocean were included in the assessment of fishing pressure indicators.

Fishing pressure metrics were estimated since 1990 because there were great changes prior to this in fisheries management aims and objectives (Lassen and others, 2014). A new advisory framework was adopted in 1976, precautionary approach reference points were not formally adopted until the 1990s, and maximum sustainable yield much later (Lassen and others, 2014). Following an initial analysis, national shellfish and marine fish (including Nephrops) communities were separated given the differing management regimes for national stocks and those with internationally agreed quotas, contrasting temporal patterns in the metrics and differing levels of maturity in the stock assessment procedures.

Marine fish (quota) stocks

Stocks ranged from ICES Data Categories 1 to 6 and were located in the Celtic Seas and Greater North Sea. Category 1 is considered data-rich, and all other categories are data-limited. The stocks comprise a very large proportion of the total landings by UK vessels (> 90%).

ICES has developed maximum sustainable yield and precautionary approaches to provide fisheries management advice based on data availability and the current state of knowledge (ICES, 2016a). Stocks in ICES Data Categories 1 and 2 have full analytical assessments that provide fishing mortality estimates comparable to target exploitation rates capable of producing maximum sustainable yield in the long term (for example: ICES, 2016b). Estimates of target exploitation rates consistent with maximum sustainable yield, however, require a relatively high level of data and knowledge of stock dynamics. Assessments for Category 3 and 4 stocks provide fishing mortality estimates from survey indices or catch time-series that can be related to proxies of maximum sustainable yield or precautionary reference points (ICES, 2016c). Data-limited stocks in Categories 5 and 6 have insufficient information to estimate fishing mortality with a high degree of certainty and, therefore management advice is based on the precautionary approach (ICES, 2013).

The preliminary analysis focused on estimating fishing mortality relative to recent estimates of target exploitation rates (FMSY) for stocks of UK interest. Reference points (FMSY) and time-series of annual fishing mortality estimates were extracted from national publications, the ICES Standard Graphs database and an online interface for stock assessment. An annual fishing pressure metric for each stock was estimated by dividing annual fishing mortality estimates by the time-series invariant FMSY target. Assessments for data-limited stocks of UK interest without time-series of annual fishing mortality estimates or FMSY targets, or proxies of them, could not be made and the stocks were classified as unknown.

National shellfish stocks

Crab and lobster assessments are the most developed of the shellfish assessments and provide data on spawning stock biomass by sex using Length Cohort Analysis (Cefas 2015a, 2015b; Mesquita and others, 2016). Stock assessments for scallops are still in development, but great progress has been made in recent years with well-defined stock units in Scottish waters and preliminary stock units for English and Welsh waters under discussion (Dobby and others, 2012; ICES 2015).

Indicator

The indicator is estimated annually by dividing the total number of stocks with fishing pressure lower than FMSY by the number of unique stocks present in the dataset (irrespective of whether or not reference points and time series are available for each stock). In this way, the number of stocks over time is kept constant despite changes in assessment procedures. The community-specific fishing pressure indicator is thus the proportion of marine fish stocks of UK interest or national shellfish stocks exploited at or below FMSY.

Results

Findings in the UK Initial Assessment in 2012

Previously assessments were made by Sub-Region (Greater North Sea, Celtic Seas) for those stocks for which ICES provided full assessments (including reference points) and for which the UK contributed to through the Data Collection Framework.

For the Greater North Sea, 64% of analytically assessed fish stocks (excluding data-limited stocks) were considered at Good Environmental Status in terms of fishing mortality (HM Government, 2012). Nephrops (Norway lobster) were the only shellfish species in the North Sea covered by the initial assessment. Four of the nine Nephrops stocks in the North Sea were assessed and of these 25% met Good Environmental Status for fishing mortality (HM Government, 2012).

For the Celtic Seas, 61% of analytically assessed fish stocks (excluding data-limited stocks) met Good Environmental Status for fishing mortality. Again, Nephrops were the only shellfish where data were sufficient for reporting and of 7 of 8 stock units assessed in relation to fishing mortality, 70% met Good Environmental Status for fishing mortality (HM Government, 2012).

For national shellfish stocks, the data available at the time showed that crab and lobster stocks around the English and Scottish coasts were being fished at a rate either around or, more often, above maximum sustainable yield (HM Government, 2012). Scallops could not be assessed.

Latest findings

The indicator has been updated and now includes more stocks, including those of unknown status. A steady increase in the proportion of marine fish stocks of UK interest exploited at or below FMSY (fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield) was evident between 1990 and 2015 (Figure 1). Of the 57 marine fish stocks, 12% were exploited at or below FMSY in 1990, rising to 53% in 2015. Concurrently, the proportion of stocks exploited above FMSY declined from 47% in 1990 to 35% in 2015. Over this period, the proportion of fish stocks with unknown status decreased from 40% in 1990 to 12% in 2015.

Figure 1. The proportion of marine fish (quota) stocks of UK interest exploited with respect to FMSY, where FMSY is the fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield.

Recent developments in stock assessments have resulted in a great reduction in the proportion of national shellfish stocks with unknown status (from 86% in 1990 to 51% in 2012, when the majority of shellfish assessments were last updated). However, 44% of the 59 shellfish stocks were exploited above FMSY in 2012 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: The proportion of national shellfish stocks of UK interest exploited with respect to FMSY, where FMSY is the fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield.

Overall, the indicator assessments illustrate increases in the evidence base for both national shellfish and marine fish stocks and sustained progress towards achieving maximum sustainable yield by 2020 for marine fish stocks only.

Further information

The stocks considered here are fished not only by UK vessels but also by fleets from other countries. The proportion of the total international landings that arises from marine fish stocks that are exploited at or below FMSY has increased, with great fluctuations (Figure 3), from 18% in 1990 to 33% in 2015; the recent fall from 64% in 2013 is largely due to an increase in fishing mortality on the blue whiting stock. This fluctuating pattern demonstrates that, despite quota setting, often a large proportion of the landings arises from stocks that are fished with mortality rates above their target fishing mortalities (FMSY).

Figure 3. The proportion of the total international landings of marine fish (quota) stocks categorised with respect to FMSY, where FMSY (and FMSY) is the fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield.

A high degree of confidence exists in the assessment of fishing pressure for many marine fish stocks of UK interest. Shellfish stock assessments have recently been developed, but for some stocks the data are more limited and the assessments may be less reliable. The number of stocks classified as unknown in the assessment should continue to decline as data availability increases and assessment methods improve. The current status of each marine fish stock and each shellfish stock is given in Tables 3 and 4.

 

Table 3. Marine fish (quota) stocks of UK interest Fishing Pressure (FP) indicators evaluated in 2015. FP values above 1 show fishing levels (F) above fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield (FMSY).

Stock description

Stock code

FP indicator (2015)

Fishing sustainability

Plaice in Divisions VIIf,g

ple-celt

0.167

Sustainably Fished

Haddock in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

had-iris

0.169

Sustainably Fished

Roundnose grenadier (Coryphaenoides rupestris) in Subareas VI and VII, and Divisons Vb and XIIb

rng-5b67

0.253

Sustainably Fished

Whiting in Division VIa (West of Scotland)

whg-scow

0.317

Sustainably Fished

Sole in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

sol-iris

0.375

Sustainably Fished

Herring (Clupea harengus) in Divisions VIa and VIIb.c (West of Scotland. West of Ireland)

her-67bc

0.444

Sustainably Fished

Megrim in Division VIb

meg-rock

0.493

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in Division VIIb.c.j.k (Porcupine Bank. FU 16)

nep-16

0.532

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in Division VIa (South Minch. FU 12)

nep-12

0.547

Sustainably Fished

Plaice in Division VIIe (Western Channel)

ple-echw

0.62

Sustainably Fished

Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel)

sol-echw

0.676

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in Division VIa (North Minch. FU 11)

nep-11

0.704

Sustainably Fished

Herring in the Celtic Sea and South of Ireland

her-irls

0.727

Sustainably Fished

Whiting in ICES Division VIIb. c. e-k

whg-7e-k

0.735

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in the Firth of Clyde + Sound of Jura (FU 13)

nep-13

0.821

Sustainably Fished

White anglerfish in Divisions VIIb,k and VIIIa, b, d

anp-78ab

0.854

Sustainably Fished

Megrim in Divisions VIIb,k and VIIIa, b, d

mgw-78

0.856

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in Division IVa (Fladen Ground. FU 7)

nep-7

0.267

Sustainably Fished

Sprat in Subarea IV (North Sea)

spr-nsea

0.287

Sustainably Fished

Herring in Subareas I. II. V and Divisions IVa and XIVa (Norwegian spring-spawning herring)

her-noss

0.4

Sustainably Fished

Plaice in Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

ple-eche

0.488

Sustainably Fished

Herring in Subarea IV and Divisions IIIa and VIId (North Sea autumn spawners)

her-47d3

0.733

Sustainably Fished

Saithe in Subarea IV (North Sea) Division IIIa West (Skagerrak) and Subarea VI (West of Scotland and Rockall)

sai-3a46

0.739

Sustainably Fished

Nephrops in Division IVa (Moray Firth. FU 9)

nep-9

0.771

Sustainably Fished

Anglerfish in Subareas IV and VI and Division IIIa

ang-ivvi

0.852

Sustainably Fished

Plaice Subarea IV (North Sea)

ple-nsea

0.916

Sustainably Fished

Spurdog in the Northeast Atlantic

dgs-nea

0.4

Sustainably Fished

Ling in Subareas VI-IX, XII, and XIV, and in Divisions IIIa and Iva

lin-oth

0.484

Sustainably Fished

Hake in Division IIIa. Subareas IV. VI and VII and Divisions VIIIa.b.d (Northern stock)

hke-nrtn

0.786

Sustainably Fished

Horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus) in Divisions IIa. IVa. Vb. VIa. VIIa-c. e-k. VIII (Western stock)

hom-west

0.969

Sustainably Fished

Herring in Division VIIa North of 52° 30N (Irish Sea)

her-nirs

1.012

F > FMSY

Haddock in Division VIb (Rockall)

had-rock

1.07

F > FMSY

Whiting in Division VIIa

whg-iris

1.093

F > FMSY

Nephrops in Division VIIa (Irish Sea West. FU 15)

nep-15

1.096

F > FMSY

Nephrops in Division VIIa (Irish Sea East. FU 14)

nep-14

1.127

F > FMSY

Sole in Divisions VIIf. g (Celtic Sea)

sol-celt

1.13

F > FMSY

Black-bellied anglerfish in Divisions VIIb,k and VIIIa,b,d

anb-78ab

1.168

F > FMSY

Haddock in Divisions VIIb.c.e-k

had-7b-k

1.297

F > FMSY

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Divisions VIIe-k (Western English Channel and Southern Celtic Seas)

cod-7e-k

1.506

F > FMSY

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

cod-iris

2.911

F > FMSY

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Division VIa (West of Scotland)

cod-scow

4.611

F > FMSY

Sole in Subarea IV (North Sea)

sol-nsea

1.005

F > FMSY

Nephrops in Division IVb (Firth of Forth. FU 8)

nep-8

1.031

F > FMSY

Cod (Gadus morhua) in Subarea IV and Divisions VIId and IIIa West (North Sea. Eastern English Channel. Skagerrak)

cod-347d

1.124

F > FMSY

Nephrops in Division IVb (Farn Deeps. FU 6)

nep-6

1.435

F > FMSY

Whiting Subarea IV (North Sea) and Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

whg-47d

1.513

F > FMSY

Sole in Division VIId (Eastern Channel)

sol-eche

1.733

F > FMSY

Haddock in Subarea IV and Divisions IIIa West and VIa (North Sea. Skagerrak and West of Scotland)

had-346a

2.142

F > FMSY

Mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic (combined Southern. Western and North Sea spawning components)

mac-nea

1.314

F > FMSY

Blue whiting in Subareas I-IX. XII and XIV (Combined stock)

whb-comb

1.453

F > FMSY

Plaice in Division VIIa (Irish Sea)

ple-iris

 

Unknown

Nephrops in Divisions IVb and IVc Botney Gut/Silver Pit (FU5)

nep-05

 

Unknown

Whiting in Division VIb (Rockall)

whg-rock

 

Unknown

Cod in VIb Rockall Plateau

cod-rock

 

Unknown

Pollack (Pollachius pollachius) in Subareas VI-VII (Celtic Seas and the English Channel)

pol-celt

 

Unknown

Sprat in Subarea VI and Divisions VIIa-c and f-k (Celtic Sea and West of Scotland)

spr-celt

 

Unknown

Megrim (Lepidorhombus spp) in Divisions IVa and VIa

meg-4a6a

 

Unknown

Table 4. National shellfish stocks Fishing Pressure (FP) indicators evaluated in 2012. FP values above 1 show fishing levels (F) above fishing mortality consistent with achieving maximum sustainable yield (FMSY).

Stock Description

Stock code

FP indicator (2012)

Fishing sustainability

Edible crab North Coast

ec-nc

0.5

Sustainably Fished

Lobster in the Southwest

lob-sw

0.969

Sustainably Fished

Edible crab Papa bank

ec-pb

0.5

Sustainably Fished

Edible crab Shetland

ec-she

0.5

Sustainably Fished

Edible crab in the Western Channel

ec-echw

1.049

F > FMSY

Edible crab in the Celtic Sea

ec-cs

1.86

F > FMSY

Edible crab Hebrides

ec-heb

2

F > FMSY

Edible crab South Minch

ec-sm

2

F > FMSY

Lobster Clyde

lob-cly

2

F > FMSY

Lobster Hebridies

lob-heb

2

F > FMSY

Lobster South Minch

lob-sm

2

F > FMSY

Velvet crab Clyde

vc-cly

2

F > FMSY

Velvet crab Hebridies

vc-heb

2

F > FMSY

Velvet crab South Minch

vc-sm

2

F > FMSY

Edible crab East Coast

ec-ec

2

F > FMSY

Edible crab Orkney

ec-ork

2

F > FMSY

Edible crab Southeast

ec-se

2

F > FMSY

Lobster East Coast

lob-ec

2

F > FMSY

Lobster Orkney

lob-ork

2

F > FMSY

Lobster Papa Bank

lob-pb

2

F > FMSY

Lobster South East

lob-se

2

F > FMSY

Lobster Shetland

lob-she

2

F > FMSY

Velvet crab East Coast

vc-ec

2

F > FMSY

Velvet crab Orkney

vc-ork

2

F > FMSY

Lobster in East Anglia

lob-ea

2.472

F > FMSY

Edible crab in the Central North Sea

ec-cns

2.702

F > FMSY

Lobster on the Yorkshire and Humber coast

lob-hum

3.138

F > FMSY

Lobster in Northumberland and Durham

lob-nd

3.171

F > FMSY

Edible crab in the Southern North Sea

ec-sns

3.794

F > FMSY

Edibly crab Clyde

ec-cly

 

Unknown

Edible crab Sule

ec-sul

 

Unknown

Edible crab Ullapool

ec-ulp

 

Unknown

King scallop Cardigan Bay

ks-cb

 

Unknown

King scallop Clyde

ks-cly

 

Unknown

King scallop Celtic Sea

ks-cs

 

Unknown

King scallop Irish Sea

ks-iris

 

Unknown

King scallop Northwest

ks-nw

 

Unknown

King scallop Western Channel North

ks-wcn

 

Unknown

King scallop Western Channel South

ks-wcs

 

Unknown

King scallop West of Kintyre

ks-wok

 

Unknown

Lobster Mallaig

lob-mal

 

Unknown

Lobster North Coast

lob-nc

 

Unknown

Lobster Sule

lob-sul

 

Unknown

Lobster Ullapool

lob-ulp

 

Unknown

Queen scallop West of Scotland and Irish Sea (VIa and VIIa)

qs-iris

 

Unknown

Velvet crab Mallaig

vc-mal

 

Unknown

Velvet crab North Coast

vc-nc

 

Unknown

Velvet crab Sule

vc-sul

 

Unknown

Velvet crab Ullapool

vc-ulp

 

Unknown

Edible crab Mallaig

ec-mal

 

Unknown

King scallop Central North Sea

ks-cns

 

Unknown

King scallop East Coast

ks-ec

 

Unknown

King scallop Eastern Channel North

ks-ecn

 

Unknown

King scallop Northeast

ks-ne

 

Unknown

King scallop Orkney

ks-ork

 

Unknown

King scallop Shetland

ks-she

 

Unknown

Velvet crab Papa Bank

vc-pb

 

Unknown

Velvet crab South East

vc-se

 

Unknown

Velvet crab Shetland

vc-she

 

Unknown

Species that are present in the area, but not of commercial importance to UK fisheries (including many elasmobranch stocks) were excluded from this assessment. These stocks are more appropriately considered within the indicators developed for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive on Biological Diversity Descriptor. Historically herring fishing in the Clyde area was important nationally, but there is no current assessment, and uncertainty in the stock identity and its distinctness from herring in the wider and adjacent regions. Therefore, a separate ‘unknown’ entry for Clyde herring has not been made in the indicator. Cod in the north-east Arctic sustains an important level of landings by UK trawlers (approximately 12,000 tonnes in 2015), but given that this is only 1% of the international landings by fisheries targeting the stock and also that the stock is not within European Union waters it was not included in the indicator assessment (notably the stock is in good status with F < FMSY).

Conclusions

The UK Marine Strategy Framework Directive targets (as published in UK Marine Strategy Part One (HM Government 2012) for fishing mortality are that:

  • The exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested species at least at levels which can produce maximum sustainable yield. This exploitation rate shall be achieved by 2015, where possible, and by 2020 for all stocks at the latest.
  • The exploitation rate of each stock is either at or below FMSY, or within the range of plausible fishing mortalities consistent with FMSY. Where data does not allow FMSY, or FMSY proxies, to be calculated exploitation of each stock will be based on the precautionary approach with limits defined by agreed proxies for sustainable exploitation.

Fishing pressure has decreased on marine fish stocks subject to management through international quota allocations, but not on the national shellfish stocks. Although fishing mortality was above FMSY for many national shellfish stocks (on average 43% in the period 2006 to 2012), the fishing pressure on marine fish stocks decreased greatly such that, in 2015, 53% of fish stocks were exploited at or below levels generating maximum sustainable yield.

Further information

Political commitments to direct fisheries management towards maximum sustainable yield in Europe has contributed to a steady increase in the proportion of fish and shellfish stocks of UK interest exploited at or below FMSY since 1990. In addition, a great decrease in the proportion of stocks of marine fish (28% fewer) and national shellfish (36% fewer) with unknown status was achieved during this period. Consequently, the assessment of fishing pressure indicators revealed no reduction in the proportion of national shellfish stocks fished at target levels, a steady increase in the proportion of marine fish stocks exploited at or below FMSY, and improving status relative to maximum sustainable yield for quota stocks.

Knowledge gaps

Extensive monitoring of fishing pressure over the last three decades indicates that measures established to maintain or restore stocks to sustainable levels have increased the proportion of stocks exploited at or below FMSY. Nevertheless, exploitation rates for 12% of marine fish stocks (in 2015) and 51% of national shellfish stocks (in 2012) with respect to FMSY remained uncertain given the lack of annual fishing mortality estimates and/or target exploitation rates required to evaluate the performance of the maximum sustainable yield management strategy.

Further information

Stock assessments are limited by current data collection and without expansion of monitoring some stocks, particularly shellfish, may remain of unknown status. Nevertheless, stock assessments are conducted for scallop stocks around Scotland and are being developed for other areas. Full analytical assessments (including reference points) were not available at the time of reporting and scallop stocks were thus considered unknown in the analyses.

Some stock units cover a very large spatial area, and migrations of fish between national waters occur. Therefore, assessments based on national waters are linked between countries. The proportion of each stock that is attributable to national waters is unclear given seasonal and temporal changes in spatial distributions of stocks. The relative impact of differing countries management measures on shared stocks is similarly unclear.

Any changes in the productivity of marine ecosystems, linked to changes in prevailing environmental conditions, will likely impact on the population growth rates of stocks and thus the maximum sustainable yield obtainable. In light of such changes, fishing mortality targets may require an adjustment in the future.

References

Cefas (2015a) ‘Lobster (Homarus gammarus) Stock Status Report 2014 24 September 2015 (viewed on 23 November 2018)

Cefas (2015b) ‘Edible crab (Cancer pagurus) Stock Status Report 2014 24 September 2015 (viewed on 23 November 2018)

Dobby H, Millar S, Blackadder L, Turriff J, McLay A (2012) ‘Scottish Scallop Stocks: Results of 2011 Stock Assessments Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Volume 3 No 10 Marine Scotland Science (viewed on 23 November 2018)

European Commission (2008) ‘Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive; MSFD) European Parliament and Council of the European Union. Official Journal of the European Union, 164:19-40 (viewed on 21 September 2018)

European Commission (2013) ‘Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/20003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 Official Journal of the European Union, 354:2-61 (viewed on 22 November 2018)

HM Government (2012) ‘Marine Strategy Part One: UK Initial Assessment and Good Environmental Status’ (viewed on 5 July 2018)

ICES (2012) ‘ICES Implementation of Advice for Data-limited Stocks in 2012 in its 2012 Advice ICES CM 2012/ACOM:68, 42 pages (viewed on 22 November 2018)

ICES (2013) ‘Report of the Workshop to Finalize the ICES Data-limited Stock (DLS) Methodologies Documentation in an Operational Form for the 2013 Advice Season and to make Recommendations on Target Categories for Data-limited Stocks (WKLIFE II), 20–22 November 2012, Copenhagen, Denmark ICES CM 2012/ACOM:79, 46 pages (viewed on 22 November 2018)

ICES (2015) ‘Report of the Scallop Assessment Working Group (WGScallop), 6-10 October 2014, Nantes, France ICES CM 2014\ACOM:24, 35 pages (viewed on 22 November 2018)

ICES (2016) ‘Report of the Scallop Assessment Working Group (WGScallop) ICES CM 2015/ACOM:23, 40 pages (viewed on 23 November 2018)

ICES (2016a) ‘General context of ICES advice ICES Advice 2016, Book 1, Section 1.2. pages 1-15 (viewed on 22 November 2018)

ICES (2016b) ‘Report of the Workshop to consider FMSY ranges for stocks in ICES categories 1 and 2 in Western Waters (WKMSYREF4), 13–16 October 2015, Brest, France ICES CM 2015/ACOM:58, 187 pages (viewed on 22 November 2018)

ICES (2016c) ‘Report of the Workshop to consider MSY proxies for stocks in ICES category 3 and 4 stocks in Western Waters (WKProxy), 3–6 November 2015, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen ICES CM 2015/ACOM:61, 183 pages (viewed on 22 November 2018)

Lassen H, Kelly C and Sissenwine M (2014) ‘ICES advisory framework 1977-2012: from Fmax to precautionary approach and beyond’ ICES Journal of Marine Science 71: 166–172 (viewed on 23 November 2018)

Mesquita C, Dobby H, McLay A (2016) ‘Crab and Lobster Fisheries in Scotland: Results of Stock Assessments 2009 – 2012 Scottish Marine and Freshwater Science Volume 7 No 9. Marine Scotland Science (viewed on 22 November 2018)

Acknowledgements

Assessment metadata
Assessment TypeUK MSFD Indicator Assessment
 

D3.1

Commercial fishing pressure for stocks of UK interest

 
 
Point of contact emailmarinestrategy@defra.gov.uk
Metadata dateWednesday, August 7, 2019
TitleCommercial fishing pressure for stocks of UK interest
Resource abstract

This indicator measures progress towards the objective that populations of all commercially exploited fish and shellfish are fished below maximum sustainable yield.

Linkage

This dataset summarises stock assessment advice for quota fish stocks and national shellfish stocks. These files contain data quantifying annual recruitment, biomass, stock size, landings, catches, discards, industrial bycatch, fishing pressure (fishing pressure mean, ranges, and estimated pressure accountable to landings, discards and bycatch) and stock indicators (Flim fisheries mortality that if exceeded would result in the stock falling below Blim, Blim spawning stock Biomass at the limit reference point, Fpa level of catches that if exceeded would result in the stock falling below Bpa, Bpa spawning stock Biomass in relation to the precautionary approach, Fpa, FMSY Maximum sustainable yield, BMSY Maximum sustainable yield biomass trigger) for various fish stocks (fish species in given ICES regions).

Conditions applying to access and use

© Crown 2018 copyright Defra, licenced under the Open Government Licence (OGL).

Assessment Lineage

These data are used to determine the indicator D3.1

Commercial fishing pressure for stocks of UK interest and D3.2 Reproductive capacity of commercially exploited stocks of UK interest. Data processing is carried out by landmark on the CEFMAT interface, as per an r script created collaboratively between Christopher Lynam, Zachary Radford and Joseph Ribeiro (Cefas).

Dataset metadata

This indicator summarises stock assessment advice for quota fish stocks and national shellfish stocks. The input data for quota fish stocks arise from the ICES stock assessment database http://standardgraphs.ices.dk/stockList.aspx, while the data for national shellfish stocks arise from Marine Scotland and Cefas assessments (see links in References).

The UK_ICES_fish_stock_and_shellfish_stock_assessment_data_2017.csv is modified from the ICES stock assessment database. Appended to this is the UK national shellfish stocks data, which were taken from assessment reports provided by Cefas and Marine Scotland. In the dataset, the first column “ICES” identifies those stocks that originate from the ICES stock assessment database with the entry “Y”.

The SPiCT_Stock data2_281117.csv contains ICES stock assessment model outputs. SPiCT refers to 'Stochastic Production model in Continuous Time', the model used to produce outputs for data limited stocks. These data were not released online by ICES when this data were collated (12/09/2017), but instead downloaded directly by www.stockassessment.org (Casper Berg, DTU-Aqua) to Cefas on 08 June 2016.

The SPiCT_Stock data2_281117.csv contains ICES stock assessment model outputs. SPiCT refers to 'Stochastic Production model in Continuous Time', the model used to produce outputs for data limited stocks. These data were not released online by ICES when this data were collated (12/09/2017), but instead downloaded directly by www.stockassessment.org (Casper Berg, DTU-Aqua) to Cefas on 08 June 2016.

Links to datasets identifiers

Please, see doi below

Dataset DOI

https://doi.org/10.14466/CefasDataHub.74

The Metadata are “data about the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data” (FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata Workbook, Ver 2.0, May 1, 2000).

Metadata definitions

Assessment Lineage - description of data sets and method used to obtain the results of the assessment

Dataset – The datasets included in the assessment should be accessible, and reflect the exact copies or versions of the data used in the assessment. This means that if extracts from existing data were modified, filtered, or otherwise altered, then the modified data should be separately accessible, and described by metadata (acknowledging the originators of the raw data).

Dataset metadata – information on the data sources and characteristics of data sets used in the assessment (MEDIN and INSPIRE compliance).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) – a persistent identifier to provide a link to a dataset (or other resource) on digital networks. Please note that persistent identifiers can be created/minted, even if a dataset is not directly available online.

Indicator assessment metadata – data and information about the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of an indicator assessment.

MEDIN discovery metadata - a list of standardized information that accompanies a marine dataset and allows other people to find out what the dataset contains, where it was collected and how they can get hold of it.

Recommended reference for this indicator assessment

Lynam, C.P.1, Radford, Z.1, Ribeiro, J.1, Engelhard, G.1, Firmin, C1, Dobby, H.2, Mesquita, C.2, Bluemel, J.1, Bell, E.1, & O'Brien, C.1 2018. Commercial fishing pressure for stocks of UK interest. UK Marine Online Assessment Tool, available at: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/pressures-from-human-activities/commercial-fish-and-shellfish/fishing-pressure/

1Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

2Marine Scotland