Last updated on 29 September 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Pleuronectes platessa

SPECIES NAME(s)

European plaice

Several genetic and tagging experiments have been conducted in the NE Atlantic region (e.g. Hoarau et al., 2002; Was et al., 2010; Ulrich et al. 2013). The stock complex consists of sub-populations with distinct spawning grounds; some of them present a strong fidelity behaviour (Hunter et al., 2003) however gene flow is also found among some populations (Hoarau et al., 2002). Different assessments are performed within ICES division VII: Irish Sea (VIIa), West of Ireland (VIIb,c), Eastern English Channel (VIId) and Western English Channel (VIIe), Celtic Sea (VIIf,g), SW of Ireland (VIIh-k).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Assessment quality improved.
  • Spawning stock biomass is increasing since 2008 and Fishing mortality is on a decreasing trend.
  • ICES advice is based on a harvest control rule (index-adjusted status-quo catch) and suited for data limited stocks.
Weaknesses
  • ICES advice and TAC area are not coincident.
  • Reliable advice is not conceivable due to uncertainties in the stock assessment (insufficient data).
  • Reference points are no longer valid.
  • Stock structure is not well known.
  • Management measures are applied on a mixed-fishery causing high levels of discards.
  • Recruitment is poorly known.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

6.2


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

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
Eastern English Channel EU United Kingdom Beam trawls
Danish seines
Single boat bottom otter trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 4 October 2013

Strengths
  • Assessment quality improved.
  • Spawning stock biomass is increasing since 2008 and Fishing mortality is on a decreasing trend.
  • ICES advice is based on a harvest control rule (index-adjusted status-quo catch) and suited for data limited stocks.
Weaknesses
  • ICES advice and TAC area are not coincident.
  • Reliable advice is not conceivable due to uncertainties in the stock assessment (insufficient data).
  • Reference points are no longer valid.
  • Stock structure is not well known.
  • Management measures are applied on a mixed-fishery causing high levels of discards.
  • Recruitment is poorly known.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 31 August 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Start a fishery improvement project to address sustainability issues in this fishery. For advice on starting a FIP, see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Communicate to fishery managers that there are sustainability issues in this fishery that may be affecting the sale of products, and request that they comprehensively evaluate and address such issues.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs at http://www.sustainablefish.org/publications/2014/04/30/the-seafood-industry-guide-to-fips.
2. Work with other suppliers and buyers on a pre-competitive basis to start a supplier roundtable to review improvement needs in this and other similar fisheries, catalyze fishery improvement projects, and monitor progress in improvement efforts.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 4 October 2013

The trend-based assessment (XSA) is performed with commercial landings, three survey indices and one commercial index; discards are not included (short and variable time-series), and a constant natural mortality is assumed (ICES, 2013a). Uncertainties are related to insufficient discard data and mixture between North Sea and Western Channel stocks during spawning periods in the Eastern Channel (ICES, 2013a). Inclusion of 7+ age groups improved the assessment quality (ICES, 2012b).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 3 July 2012

No reliable forecast is conceivable due to uncertainties in stock assessment. Based on an “index-adjusted status-quo catch” as harvest control rule (HCR) for the sake of limited data and as a first step to reach FMSY by 2015, ICES advises a reduction on fishing mortality to 0.28in 2014, resulting in landings of no more than 3,925 tonnes. Discarding should also be reduced (ICES, 2013a).

Reference Points

Last updated on 03 Jul 2012

Former reference points are no longer appropriate. Based on the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) approach, FMSY was set at 0.23 (ICES, 2012a).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 4 October 2013

Current Fishing mortality (F) and Spawning Stock Assessment (SSB) are based on a trend assessment. F is decreasing and estimated to be currently among the lowest in the time-series. SSB is increasing estimated currently to be above the long term average (ICES, 2013a). Discarding is estimated to represent up 50% of total catch in number (ICES, 2013a); in beam trawl discards are below the minimum landing size (16.4-17.6cm) (ICES, 2012b).

Trends

Last updated on 04 Oct 2013

Until 1995, F fluctuated without clear trend, but in the mid-90s (particularly in 1997) peaked to the highest values of the time series; since then it has been gradually decreasing. SSB reached the higher values between 1987-1990, decreased until 2003, maintaining at record low levels from 2003-2008, but has been increasing since then (ICES, 2013a).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 3 July 2012

As a mixed fishery, management measures for the sole fishery impact the fishery: minimum mesh size (80mm for beam-trawl) and minimum landing size for plaice (27cm) do not match, causing high discarding of undersized plaice (ICES, 2012b, 2013a). Mesh size of 100mm is required for fixed-nets since 2002 (being 90mm mesh size abolished) and for otter trawls.

The management area (VIId,e) do not overlap the ICES advice area (VIId), i.e., despite ICES’ separate advice for plaice in Eastern and Western channel, a single TAC continues to be set by the EU. Nonetheless, in 2013 the joint set TAC (6,400 t) (Council Regulation (EU) No 39/2013) was in line with the sum of the two separated TACs recommended by ICES (ICES, 2012a, 2012c).

Effort reductions are also in place since 2009 (e.g. EU No. 43/2009), and vary between country at around 5-10% each year (ICES, 2012a). Such reductions are considered, however, to not have been restrictive in the Eastern channel so far (ICES, 2013a).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 03 Jul 2012

No management objectives are known (ICES, 2012a).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 4 October 2013

Fishers’ compliance is relatively high. Although plaice landings in the Eastern Channel have surpassed the levels advised by ICES in 2010 and 2011 (ICES, 2012a), total landings in 2012 (Eastern and Western stock) have exceeded the joint TAC only by 9% (ICES, 2013a). EU Data Collection regulation is in place since 2003; discarding depends on the gear type and is considered to be significant, i.e., up to 50% of total catch in number (ICES, 2013a).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 10 April 2013

No direct impact is known to occur by the fishery on Protected, Endangered and Threatened (PET) species. In the UK in particular, cetacean bycatch in demersal trawling is generally rare and not thought to pose a significant risk (Defra, 2003). The impact on Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena (Least Concern; 2012 IUCN Red List), however, is not well understood, but presence of the species in the Eastern Channel is occasional (MCRI, 2011).

Other Species

Last updated on 4 October 2013

Discards of undersized plaice are a concern, especially in beam trawlers (ICES, 2008; ICES, 2012a). No precise estimates of discards are available due to incomplete data, but according to the surveys information available discards can represent up 50% in number of total catch (ICES, 2013a).

In the UK specifically, some projects, involving scientists managers and fishermen, are underway to increase selectivity in the trawl fisheries and reduce discards (CEFAS, 2010, 2011). At the stock level, an increase of the minimum mesh size in the beam trawl fishery would probably reduce the volume of discards in terms undersized plaice.

HABITAT

Last updated on 10 April 2013

The impacts of demersal trawling on the benthic habitats have been extensively studied in European waters, particularly in the North Sea (e.g., Callaway et al., 2007; Hinz et al., 2009; Lengkeek and Bouma, 2010). Demersal trawling has been found to affect the ecosystem functioning, both in terms of diversity, size structure and biomass of the benthic communities, as well as the physical habitat structure (ICES, 2008).

In the Eastern Channel, scars related to bottom trawling are difficult to identify due to predominant sandy sediments (Vanstaen et al., 2008).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 10 Apr 2013

The network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the United Kingdom comprises the Eastern Channel. Additional MPAs in the Eastern Channel were designated under the OSPAR MPA network.No closure areas are designated for the European plaice fishery.

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

FMSY=Ftarget is set as an Harvest Control Rule to stabilize the stock and to be reached in 2015; however, trends assessment is indicative due to limited and uncertain data. Other reference points are not set and there is no management plan in place (ICES, 2012a).

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Despite ICES' separate advice for plaice in Eastern and Western channel, a single TAC continues to be set by the EU. Nonetheless, the joint TAC set for 2013 (6,400 t) (Regulation (EU) No 39/2013) was in line with the sum of the two separated TACs recommended by ICES (ICES, 2012a, 2012c).

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Plaice catches in the Eastern Channel have surpassed the levels advised by ICES in 2010 and 2011 (ICES, 2012a). However, in 2012 total catches (Eastern and Western stock) have exceeded the joint TAC only by 9% (ICES, 2013a).

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

No biological reference points are set. According to the latest qualitative evaluation, Spawning Stock Biomass is on an increasing trend since 2008 (ICES, 2013a).

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 6.2.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.331 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.230 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 144%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
  1. Proxy values for Fishing mortality and Spawning stock biomass are from respective graphs (ICES, 2013a).
  2. The trends assessment is only indicative due to uncertain and limited data; ICES quantitative advice is suited for data limited stocks. Advised TAC is for ICES area VIId (Eastern Channel) and set TAC for ICES area VIId,e (ICES, 2013a).
  3. FMSY is set as Ftarget to compute score #5. Other reference points are not set thus scores #1 and #4 were determined qualitatively.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits

Callaway, R., Engelhard, G.H., Dann, J., Cotter, J. and Rumohr, H., 2007. A century of North Sea epibenthos and trawling: comparison between 1902-1912, 1982-1985 and 2000. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 346: 27-43.http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v346/p27-43/

CEFAS, 2010. The Project 50%. Final project report. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS). 36 pp.http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/media/433833/project_50_printed_final_report.pdf

CEFAS, 2011. Discards and fishing gear technology: Improving selectivity - reducing discards. Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) website. [Last modified 06 September 2011]http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/our-science/fisheries-information/discards-and-fishing-gear-technology.aspx

Defra, 2003. UK Small cetacean bycatch response strategy Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). London. 41 pp.http://cetaceanbycatch.org/pdfs/uk_strategy.pdf

Hinz, Hilmar, Prieto, Virginia and Kaiser, Michel J., 2009. Trawl disturbance on benthic communities: chronic effects and experimental predictions. Ecological Applications, 19, 3: 761-773.http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/08-0351.1

Hoarau, G., Rijnsdorp, A.D., Van der Veer, H.W., Stam, W.T., Olsen, J.L. 2002. Population structure of plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) in northern Europe: microsatellites revealed large-scale spatial and temporal homogeneity. Mol Ecol. 11(7):1165-76http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12074724

Hunter, E., Metcalfe, J.D., Reynolds, J.D. 2003. Migration route and spawning area fidelity by North Sea plaice. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 270: 2097-2103http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561271

ICES, 2008. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee 2008. ICES Advice, 2008. Book 6, 326 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/ICES%20Advice/2008/ICES%20ADVICE%202008%20Book%206.pdf

ICES, 2012a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 6: The North Sea 6.4.8 Ecoregion: North Sea. Stock: Plaice in Division VIId (Eastern Channel). Advice summary for 2013, 6 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2012/2012/ple-eche.pdf

ICES, 2012b. Report of the Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak (WGNSSK), 27 April - 3 May 2012, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2012/ACOM:13.1346 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2012/WGNSSK/WGNSSK%202012.pdf

ICES, 2012c. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 6: The North Sea 5.4.9 Ecoregion: Celtic Sea and West of Scotland. Stock: Plaice in Division VIIe (Western Channel). Advice summary for 2013, 8 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2012/2012/ple-echw.pdf

ICES, 2013a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 6: The North Sea 6.4.19 Ecoregion: North Sea. Stock: Plaice in Division VIId (Eastern Channel). Advice summary for 2014, 6 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2013/2013/ple-eche.pdf

Marine Conservation Research International (MCRI), 2011. Final Report of a Survey for Harbour Porpoises Conducted from R/V Song of the Whale in French and British waters of the English Channel, May to June 2011. International Fund for Animal Welfare, 23 p.http://www.marineconservationresearch.co.uk/wp-content/Downloads/Final%20Report%20of%20a%20survey%20for%20Harbour%20Porpoises%20conducted%20from%20RV%20Song%20of%20the%20Whale%20in%20French%20and%20British%20waters%20of%20the%20English%20Channel.pdf

OSPAR, 2010. 2009/10 Status Report on the OSPAR Network of Marine Protected Areas. Publ. no. 493/2010. OSPAR Commission: Biodiversity Series. 61 pp.http://www.ospar.org/documents/dbase/publications/p00493_Status%20report%20MPAs.pdf

Regulation (EU) No 39/2013 of 21 January 2013 fixing for 2013 the fishing opportunities available to EU vessels for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements.http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:023:0001:0053:EN:PDF

Regulation (EU) No 43/2012 of 17 January 2012 fixing for 2012 the fishing opportunities available to EU vessels for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are not subject to international negotiations or agreements. 54 pp.http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:025:0001:0054:EN:PDF

Ulrich, C. et al. 2013. Variability and connectivity of plaice populations from the Eastern North Sea to the Western Baltic Sea, and implications for assessment and management. Journal of Sea Research 84: 40–48http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1385110113000786

Vanstaen, K., Limpenny, D., Lee, J., Eggleton, J., Brown, A., Stelzenmüller, V. 2008. The scale and impact of fishing activities in the Eastern English Channel: an initial assessment based on existing geophysical survey data (MEPF 07/04), Final Contract Report, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, 100 pp.http://www.cefas.defra.gov.uk/media/462165/mepf-07-04-c3092_final%20report_080223_final.pdf

Was, A., Gosling, E., Hoarau, G. 2010. Microsatellite analysis of plaice (Pleuronectes platessa L.) in the NE Atlantic: weak genetic structuring in a milieu of high gene flow. Mar Biol 157:447–462http://www.rug.nl/research/marine-benthic-ecology-and-evolution/publications/_pdf/2010/2010-wasmarbiol.pdf

References

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