Last updated on 28 September 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Nephrops norvegicus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Norway lobster, nephrops

There has been a particular focus on defining the parameters of importance for assessment and management, such as growth and maturation size as well as size frequencies at different depths and sediment types.  There are variations in the biological parameters of Nephrops from different grounds in the North Atlantic East and in the Mediterranean, which have received a lot of attention over the years (e.g.;Farmer, 1975; ICES, 2004b, 2006; Ulmestrand and Eggert, 2001).

Differences in N. norvegicus population demographic structure among geographical sectors, as well as in total mortality, appear to be highly related to different exploitation levels. Abelló et al., 2002

Low levels of differentiation were found between Norway lobster populations and there were no signs of an Atlantic–Mediterranean divide or of an isolation-by-distance scheme of differentiation. (Stamatis et al, 2004).

Stocks are assessed at a Funtional Unit (FU) level. Each FU correspond to a specific habitat area. However, this units are managed at ICES Division level.

Thus, Nephrops management areas fall within the TAC regime of the European CFP, although allocated TACs do not coincide totally with the Functional Units.

Currently, there are no management plans applicable to the species.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Mixed-fisheries advice was provided by ICES for the first time in 2012. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points have been determined; abundance is above and exploitation rate below their respective MSY reference points. Fishers’ compliance improved and landings are below the advised TAC. Set TAC is below ICES advice. Technical measures and closure areas are established to diminish bycatch of cod and contribute to the North Sea stock recovery. Abundance estimates improved in consequence of Under Water TV (UWTV) survey enhancements. A Long Term Management Plan is being developed. PET species are not impacted by the fishery and the habitat structure and function is not undermined. To support the Cod Recovery Plan, real-time closure areas, amber areas and seasonal closures (for spawning) are established.

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points have been determined; abundance is above and exploitation rate below their respective MSY reference points. Set TAC is below ICES advice. Technical measures and closure areas are established to diminish bycatch of cod and contribute to the North Sea stock recovery. Abundance estimates improved in consequence of Under Water TV (UWTV) survey enhancements. A Long Term Management Plan is being developed. PET species are not impacted by the fishery and the habitat structure and function is not undermined. To support the Cod Recovery Plan, real-time closure areas, amber areas and seasonal closures (for spawning) are established.

Weaknesses

Management measures are set by ICES subarea and not by Functional Unit (FU), placing the resource in individual FUs at risk of depletion. There is a 12-18 month lag between the survey and the issuance of the TAC. Bycatch is 23% of catches in weight.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

NOT YET SCORED

Managers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Fishers Compliance:

NOT YET SCORED

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS
  • Regulators to divide the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) by Functional Unit (stock).
  • Regulators to adopt a precautionary management plan with appropriate reference points.
  • Catchers to reduce unwanted catch of other species (namely cod and whiting) by adopting mitigation measures.
RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Contact (and/or ask your supply chain) your fisheries administration and request that the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) be divided by Functional Unit (stock).
  • Contact (and/or ask your supply chain) the fisheries research institute and request that the underwater TV survey (UWTV) be extended to cover all of the grounds.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) North Sea nephrops:

    Withdrawn

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
Fladen Ground European Union, Division 4a United Kingdom Bottom trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Mixed-fisheries advice was provided by ICES for the first time in 2012. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points have been determined; abundance is above and exploitation rate below their respective MSY reference points. Fishers’ compliance improved and landings are below the advised TAC. Set TAC is below ICES advice. Technical measures and closure areas are established to diminish bycatch of cod and contribute to the North Sea stock recovery. Abundance estimates improved in consequence of Under Water TV (UWTV) survey enhancements. A Long Term Management Plan is being developed. PET species are not impacted by the fishery and the habitat structure and function is not undermined. To support the Cod Recovery Plan, real-time closure areas, amber areas and seasonal closures (for spawning) are established.

European Union, Division 4a

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reference points have been determined; abundance is above and exploitation rate below their respective MSY reference points. Set TAC is below ICES advice. Technical measures and closure areas are established to diminish bycatch of cod and contribute to the North Sea stock recovery. Abundance estimates improved in consequence of Under Water TV (UWTV) survey enhancements. A Long Term Management Plan is being developed. PET species are not impacted by the fishery and the habitat structure and function is not undermined. To support the Cod Recovery Plan, real-time closure areas, amber areas and seasonal closures (for spawning) are established.

Weaknesses

Management measures are set by ICES subarea and not by Functional Unit (FU), placing the resource in individual FUs at risk of depletion. There is a 12-18 month lag between the survey and the issuance of the TAC. Bycatch is 23% of catches in weight.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 3 January 2017

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators
  • Regulators to divide the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) by Functional Unit (stock).
  • Regulators to adopt a precautionary management plan with appropriate reference points.
  • Catchers to reduce unwanted catch of other species (namely cod and whiting) by adopting mitigation measures.
Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Contact (and/or ask your supply chain) your fisheries administration and request that the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) be divided by Functional Unit (stock).
  • Contact (and/or ask your supply chain) the fisheries research institute and request that the underwater TV survey (UWTV) be extended to cover all of the grounds.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

The stock is surveyed by underwater TV (UWTV), covering the main part but not all of the grounds (Functional Units, FU), meaning abundance may be underestimated. A yield-per-recruit analysis is then conducted based on length frequency data. There is uncertainty around many of the population’s biological parameters such as growth (ICES, 2012a). UWTV improved since 2007 due to an enhancement in the record position by Global Positioning System (GPS) increasing accuracy of abundance estimates; values prior to 2007 were revised. Discard and bycatch data are included in the assessment (ICES, 2012a).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

ICES advice is for each FU and, under the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) transition scheme, is at 10,000 tons for 2013 for FU 7 (Fladen Ground) and at 18,120 tons for all FU in the North Sea. ICES has presented mixed-species advice for the North Sea for the first time in 2012, spanning a range of options. Cod is the limiting species due to bycatch in North Sea demersal fisheries – to strictly enforce the cod management plan, catches of Norway lobster in this fishery should be limited to 3,900 tons (ICES, 2012a).
Current management, at the ICES Division level instead for each FU, is not considered to represent the local effort and safeguard the sustainability of Nephrops stocks (ICES, 2012a).

Reference Points

Reference points based on the precautionary approach have not been defined (ICES, 2012a), and neither have limit reference points. Candidate maximum sustainable yield (MSY) points have been explored, and determined for males and females, separately and combined. Under the new ICES MSY framework, a proxy of FMSY was selected as F0.1 = 10.3% for sexes combined and based on the likely low productivity and on historical harvest ratios. MSY Btrigger was revised (due to UWTV survey improvement) and set at 2767,000 million individuals (ICES, 2012a).

CURRENT STATUS

Fladen Ground is the largest Nephrops ground. The spawning biomass size has decreased in the last three years but is above its MSY reference point, and fishing mortality is below its MSY target. Current abundance levels, suggesting low productivity, are linked to the depleted North Sea cod stock and the ensuing reduced predation; although biomass can be underestimated by the current methodology used (ICES, 2012a).

Trends

Since 2000 abundance has been higher than previous values achieved in the 1990s. After the maximum values registered in 2007-2008 (around 7000 millions) abundance has been decreasing progressively, coincident with the increase in the effort level until 2010. Even though the effort level has always been below FMSY except in 2010. Total landings oscillated around 18,000 tons between 1992 and 2003, and since then increased to higher levels, at about 29,000 tons in 2007 and 2009. In Fladen Ground (FU 7) landings were below 6,500 tons until 2000 but since then have been increasing, attaining 13,330 tons in 2009 in consequence of improvement in catches’ reporting (ICES, 2012a).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

No specific objectives are known or agreed for the fishery. A minimum landing size of 25mm of the carapace length is defined (ICES, 2012a). A Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is set for the European Union waters of IIa (Norwegian Sea) and IV (North Sea): for 2013 is set at 17,350 tons (Proposal for Council Regulation 2012/0292) which is below previous TAC and for the first-time below the ICES advice for all FU in the North Sea. 
Landings are regularly monitored by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science CEFAS (Fisheries Research Services, FRS) and the Department of Fisheries, Rural Development and Agriculture (DEFRA); and also by onboard observers with the main goal to reduce bycatch, especially of cod. Fishing location and activity and retained species need to be reported in logbooks. To support the Cod Recovery Plan, real-time closure areas, amber areas and seasonal closures (for spawning) are established; a minimum mesh size of either 80 mm (stretched mesh) cod end or a 110 mm cod end plus a 110 mm mesh square-mesh panel in the sleeve or extension piece are required (Moody Marine, 2010).

Furthermore, a Long Term Management Plan (LTMP) for North Sea Nephrops is being discussed and developed (2011 Draft Version; Moody Marine, 2010).

Recovery Plans

Not applicable.

COMPLIANCE

Fishers’ compliance improved – in 2011 the catch level was below both set and advised TAC. Bycatch is at 23% in number and can be higher due to mesh size of 80mm but measures are in place to reduce it (ICES, 2012a). Bycatch quantified is believed to be greater than the officially reported and landed (Moody Marine, 2010). Discarding rates of undersize and low quality Norway lobster (Nephrops) have generally been low due to the large size of specimens in this fishery, and have decreased since 2000, falling to zero in 2011, with increased retention of smaller lobster and a shift in size composition thought to be contributing factors (ICES, 2012a).
The movement of effort between FU is not controlled (ICES, 2012a). “Buyers and sellers” regulations, established by the United Kingdom (UK) government since 2005, contributed to landings accuracy. Additional days at sea can be given to vessels under the “Scottish Conservation Credits” that agree with technical measures (e.g. selective gears), real-time closures and amber areas to reduce cod bycatch and discards (Moody Marine, 2010).

The Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) submitted the Nephrops fishery to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) process certification in 2007. MSC Conditions were defined in 2010 (Public Comment Draft Report) but meanwhile the fishery was withdrawn of the process due to management issues – TAC defined for the North Sea instead at the FU level (SFSAG, undated).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Of all Protected, Endangered and Threatened (PET) species encountered in the North Sea four can rarely interact with the Nephrops fishery: Common skate Dipturus batis, Spotted ray Raya montagui, Atlantic cod Gadus morhua (all listed in the OSPAR List of Threatened and/or Declining Species) and Atlantic spurdog Squalus acanthias (Critically Endangered; 2006 IUCN Redlist). Common skate is considered to be depleted and Spotted ray population is maintained or increased since 1980. Cetaceans or pinnipeds rarely interact and capture of this species needs to be reported under the Seafish Responsible Fisheries Scheme. The fishery is not considered to be a risk for any of the PET species (Moody Marine, 2010).

European Union, Division 4a

No significant interactions occur with protected, endangered or threatened (PET) species (Moody Marine, 2010). Some bycatch of critically endangered spurdog/piked dogfish occurs, but has declined sharply and is small when compared to other gears. Interactions with mammals – porpoises and seals – are reportedly rare; most vessels have undergone a certification process which includes a mammal bycatch reporting system (Moody Marine, 2010).

Other Species

Bycatch species comprise cod, haddock and whiting but also plaice, lemon sole and rays (Moody Marine, 2010; ICES, 2012a), which are discarded and can be of high proportion due to the 80mm of mesh size mainly used. Mitigation measures have been adopted through the use of more selective gear, the Scottish Conservation Credits scheme and the use of real-time closures (ICES, 2012a). Further mitigation measures should be implemented to minimize bycatch of cod and whiting to not compromise both stocks recovery. Several experiments (e.g. Dunlin and Reese, 2003; Kynoch et al, 2007; Catchpole and Revill, 2008) have been done to reduce discarding in this fishery (Moody Marine, 2010).

HABITAT

Norway lobster is mainly preyed by cod and is expected to decrease in the consequence of the cod stock recovery in the North Sea (ICES, 2012a). Several measures are adopted to support the Recovery Plan for the Atlantic Cod. 
The North Sea ecosystem is deeply studied and monitored. Of the protected habitats under the OSPAR List of Threatened and/or Declining Habitats for the Greater North Sea – Intertidal mudflats, Littoral chalk communities, Lophelia pertusa reefs, Maerl beds, Modiolus modiolus beds, Intertidal Mytilus edulis beds on mixed and sandy sediments, Ostrea edulis beds, Sabellaria spinulosa reefs, Sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities and Zostera beds – none is particularly impacted by the fishery (Moody Marine, 2010).
Multi-rig gears, which stabilized in number after an increasing period, are expected to have a higher effect in the ecosystem than single gears (ICES, 2012a). However, none of the identified habitats in the North Sea is considered to be vulnerable to the Nephrops fishery, not undermining habitat structure and function. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) positions are tracked for the fishery. Norway lobster’s habitat is soft and muddy grounds, which may have greater resilience to trawling than other sediment types. There has been an expansion of fishing grounds in recent years to more easterly and northerly areas (ICES, 2012).. 
Gears with three or more trawls have been banned for Scottish vessels (ICES, 2012a).

Marine Reserves

Scottish inshore areas are closed to mobile gears, with the aim to protect nursery zones and reduce gear conflicts. Besides, to support the Cod Recovery Plan and under the “Scottish Conservation Credits”, when more than 40 all-sized cods are captured per hour a real-time closure area is defined for 21 days. Amber areas are set if, for more than three months, cod aggregations are localized. Seasonal closures – Long Hole (December 2008 – at least Jun 2009), Papa Bank (15 Jan – 15 Mar), Stanhope Ground (21 Feb – 30 Apr) and Coral Edge (15 Jan – 28 Feb) – aim to protect cod spawning areas (Moody Marine, 2010). To protect habitats, Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under Natura 2000, Marine Conservation Zones (MSC) included in the National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and OSPAR MPAs are established or being implemented (Moody Marine, 2010; ICES, 2012a).

European Union, Division 4a

essel monitoring system (VMS) positions are tracked for the fishery. Norway lobster’s habitat is soft and muddy grounds, which may have greater resilience to trawling than other sediment types. Although the MSC assessment process found that it is unlikely to have further serious or irreversible impacts on habitats, there has been an expansion of fishing grounds in recent years to more easterly and northerly areas (ICES, 2012). Notwithstanding, a condition was raised requiring reporting of interactions with sea pen species, as the distribution of these is poorly mapped (Moody Marine, 2010).

Gears with three or more trawls have been banned for Scottish vessels (ICES, 2012 advice), and vessels in this fishery use rubber bobbins on the footrope and no tickler chains (Moody Marine, 2010).

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

STOCK HEALTH:

No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available
No data available

Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) North Sea nephrops

STATUS

Withdrawn on 22 March 2012

Sources

Credits

Fordham, S., Fowler, S.L., Coelho, R., Goldman, K.J. & Francis, M. 2006. Squalus acanthias (Northeast Atlantic subpopulation). In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. [Downloaded on 02 September 2012.]http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/44168/0

ICES, 2012. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee 2012. Book 6: The North Sea. 6.4.12: Nephrops in Subarea IV (North Sea).http://www.ices.dk/committe/acom/comwork/report/2012/2012/Neph-IV.pdf

Moody Marine Ltd, 2010. Public Comment Draft Report for the: SFSAG North Sea Nephrops Trawl Fishery. Client: The Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG). http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/exiting-the-program/withdrawn/scottish_fisheries_sustainable_accreditation_group_sfsag_north_sea_nephrops/assessment-downloads-1/13.05.2010-sfsag-north-sea-nephrops-draft-report.pdf

References

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