Last updated on 17 December 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Lophius piscatorius

SPECIES NAME(s)

Angler, monk, monkfish, white fish, white anglerfish

Several studies have been conducted to understand the life history, migratory behaviour, body morphology, and genetics to determine the population structure of anglerfish but further research is needed (Crozier, 1987; Duarte et al., 2004; Fariña et al., 2004; Blanco et al., 2008; Landa et al., 2008). In lack of a clear stock structure within the region the assessment units assumed by ICES, not based on genetic or biological data (GESSAN, 2002; Duarte et al., 2004; Fariña et al., 2004; ICES, 2010; Cañás et al., 2012), are here used:

1) Skagerrak, Kattegat, North Sea and West of Scotland including Divisions IIa, IIIa, Subareas IV and VI where both Lophius species are assessed together;

2) Southern Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay including Divisions VIIb-k and VIIIab where there are separated ICES advices for (white) angler and blackbellied angler but the species are managed jointly;

3) Bay of Biscay and Atlantic Iberian waters including Divisions VIIIc and IXa in where both species are captured and landed together so two linked but separated ICES advices are published for (white) angler and blackbellied angler (ICES, 2014a,b);

4) Icelandic in Division Va only for L. piscatorius (MRI, 2015).


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • The average stock biomass indicator in the last two years is higher than the average of the 3 previous years for both species, and the abundance index suggest medium recruitment for L.piscatorius and the highest observed for L.budegassa (ICES 2014b, 2014c).
  • Underreporting of landings is thought to have decreased as a result of improved enforcement (ICES 2012a).
  • Effort has decreased steadily and the stock is not expected to be affected if recent catch levels are maintained (ICES 2014d).
  • Biological sampling is carried out by the countries contributing most to catches.
Weaknesses
  • No biological reference points are set.
  • Ageing problems and difficulties estimating and quantifying discards of small anglerfish have led to uncertainty in catch estimates and advice and contributedto the lack of an analytical assessment.
  • The majority of anglerfish catches (for both species) consists of immature fish.
  • There are indications that discarding of small anglerfish has increased in recent years.
  • Management of the two anglerfish species under a combined TAC prevents effective control of the single-species exploitation rates and could potentially lead to overexploitation of either species (ICES 2014b, 2014c).
  • In the last two years TAC has been set at higher levels than ICES advice.
  • There is a mismatch since ICES advice applies to an area (Divisions VIIb–k and VIIIa,b,d) smaller than the management area (Subarea VII and Subdivisions VIIIa,b,d,e) for which the TAC is established (ICES 2014b, 2014d).
  • Although ICES considers different anglerfish stocks in different areas for each species, the boundaries are not based on biological criteria (ICES, 2014c).
  • The impacts of the fishery on PET species and habitat are not known.
  • Trawl activity has considerable overlap with nursery grounds and in the Southwest UK region, a high degree of overlap is known to occur on anglerfish nursery grounds (Koch and Pacitto 2013).

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

7.8

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

≥ 6


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
  • 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

  • C&WSTG English Channel megrim, monk and sole beam trawl:

    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
Southern Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay EU 7a-k, 8abde France Beam trawls
Set gillnets (anchored)
Single boat bottom otter trawls
Spain Single boat bottom otter trawls
United Kingdom Beam trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 27 January 2015

Strengths
  • The average stock biomass indicator in the last two years is higher than the average of the 3 previous years for both species, and the abundance index suggest medium recruitment for L.piscatorius and the highest observed for L.budegassa (ICES 2014b, 2014c).
  • Underreporting of landings is thought to have decreased as a result of improved enforcement (ICES 2012a).
  • Effort has decreased steadily and the stock is not expected to be affected if recent catch levels are maintained (ICES 2014d).
  • Biological sampling is carried out by the countries contributing most to catches.
Weaknesses
  • No biological reference points are set.
  • Ageing problems and difficulties estimating and quantifying discards of small anglerfish have led to uncertainty in catch estimates and advice and contributedto the lack of an analytical assessment.
  • The majority of anglerfish catches (for both species) consists of immature fish.
  • There are indications that discarding of small anglerfish has increased in recent years.
  • Management of the two anglerfish species under a combined TAC prevents effective control of the single-species exploitation rates and could potentially lead to overexploitation of either species (ICES 2014b, 2014c).
  • In the last two years TAC has been set at higher levels than ICES advice.
  • There is a mismatch since ICES advice applies to an area (Divisions VIIb–k and VIIIa,b,d) smaller than the management area (Subarea VII and Subdivisions VIIIa,b,d,e) for which the TAC is established (ICES 2014b, 2014d).
  • Although ICES considers different anglerfish stocks in different areas for each species, the boundaries are not based on biological criteria (ICES, 2014c).
  • The impacts of the fishery on PET species and habitat are not known.
  • Trawl activity has considerable overlap with nursery grounds and in the Southwest UK region, a high degree of overlap is known to occur on anglerfish nursery grounds (Koch and Pacitto 2013).
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 13 October 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. For advice on starting a FIP see SFP’s Seafood Industry Guide to FIPs.
  • 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 27 January 2015

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is a global organization established in 1902 for enhanced ocean sustainability. ICES has 20 member countries from both sides of the North Atlantic and comprises a network of more than 4000 scientists from almost 300 institutes, with 1600 scientists participating in activities annually. ICES is the entity responsible for providing management advice to the European Commission (EC) and Governments of ICES member countries. ICES advice is based on peer-reviewed Expert Group reports. The Working Group for the Bay of Biscay and the Iberic Waters Ecoregion (WGBIE) (formerly WGHMM) meets once a year and carry out stock assessments and catch forecasts on NE Atlantic shelf fish stocks and provide a first draft of the ICES advice for all the stocks. Annual fish stock assessments are evaluated every three to five years in a benchmark workshop where all information is reviewed.

Since 2007 no analytical assessment is available for this stock. The main cause of this is the lack of discard data and the low quality of other parameters (e.g. ageing). Therefore, no forecast is presented by ICES (ICES 2014b, 2014c).

Data from four different surveys are used in the stock assessment (ICES 2014a): a French survey initiated in 1997 that covers the highest proportion of the area of the stock distribution (FR-EVHOE), a Spanish survey initiated in 2001 that covers the Porcupine bank (SP-PGFS), an Irish survey initiated in 2003 (IR-IGFS) and an English survey initiated in 2003 (EW-FSP) that covers a fraction of the area VIIe-h.

As there is no age based data available the stock assessments of the two species are based on the analysis of landing per unit effort (the fleets operating in the management area are defined as 7 different Fishery Units), surveys indices, and length distributions from landings and surveys (ICES 2014a).

For both species (but particularly in the case of L.budegassa) data from surveys tracking recent good recruitment give scope for the use of length based models for assessment, growth studies and ageing validation that should be initiated as soon as possible (ICES 2014d).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 4 January 2015

The two species are assessed separately but advised as a single stock since the EU issues a single TAC covering both species (ICES 2014a). ICES advises on the basis of the data-limited approach but total catches cannot be projected as discards cannot be quantified (ICES 2014b, 2014c).

In 2007, WGHMM rejected the XSA age based assessments of both species because of data quality (increased discards not incorporated) and ageing problems clearly identified (ICES 2014a). In 2008, no new advice was delivered as the information available was considered too weak to provide any advice (ICES 2014a). The advice given for 2008 was also applicable until 2011. The stocks were reviewed in 2012 by the WKFLAT 2012 not finding an acceptable method for providing analytical assessment and recommended to continue using the analysis of trends for providing non analytical assessment (ICES 2014a, 2014d). For the first time, in 2012, quantitative advice was provided using a data-limited stocks approach derived from a survey trends-based assessment. The advice is based on a comparison of the two most recent biomass index values with the three preceding values, combined with recent catch or landings data (ICES 2012a). The biomass is estimated to have increased for both species by more than 20% between the periods 2009–2011 (average of the three years) and 2012–2013 (average of the two years). Considering that a 20% increase in catch was advised last year, an additional 20% increase this year gives a risk that the catches increase faster than the biomass. ICES considers that last year’s advice should be repeated (ICES 2014b, 2014c). That corresponds to landings in 2015 of no more than 26,691 tons for L. piscatorius and 10,757 tons for L. budegassa, resulting in advised landings of no more than 37,450 tons.

There are no reference points defined for these stocks. As a consequence of identified problems with growth estimates, previous reference points are not considered to be valid (ICES 2014b, 2014c).

ICES recommends improving sampling of length composition and growth parameters to perform an analytical assessment. Both parameters are of high importance for the species and understanding of population dynamics (Fariña et al. 2008). The development of management measures should consider both Lophius species and other species caught in the fishery (ICES 2012a).

Reference Points

Last updated on 04 Jan 2015

There are no reference points defined for these stocks, as a consequence of the lack of discard data and the low quality of other parameter (e.g. ageing) (ICES, 2014b,d). Previous reference points will have to be redefined based on an approved analytical assessment (ICES, 2014a).

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 4 January 2015

The stock is not expected to be affected if recent catch levels are maintained, as recognized by the ICES working group in charge of assessing this fishery (WGBIE) (ICES, 2014d). There is no estimates of biomass for any of the species, however, ICES estimates an increase of biomass for both stocks (ICES, 2014b,c) in recent years.

LPUE’s and survey data (biomass, abundance indices and length distributions) give indication that the biomass of L.piscatorius has been increasing as a consequence of the good recruitment observed in 2001, 2002 and 2004 and has stabilized in recent years (ICES, 2014d). There is evidence of good recruitments in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. 2008 and 2009 recruitments have entered the fishery giving one of the higher yields of the time series. Recruitment in 2012 and 2013, lower than previous years could have implications in the total biomass of the stock in the future (ICES, 2014d).

Survey data give indication that the biomass of L.budegassa has shown a continuous increase since the mid 2000’s as a consequence of several good incoming recruitments (ICES, 2014d). There is good evidence of a strong incoming recruitment from 2008. One of the surveys shows evidence of a medium level of recruitment in 2010 and the last three years has recorded its historical maximum (ICES, 2014d).

Estimation of discards has been carried out by some countries. This information shows that an increasing proportion of small fish of both species are caught and discarded. After an extensive analysis of discard data during the benchmark performed in 2012, discard estimates were considered not to be precise enough to be quantified and used in the assessment (ICES, 2014d). Therefore, total catches cannot be calculated.

Trends

Last updated on 04 Jan 2015

It is important to remark that, because of the particular spawning of the Lophius species, recruitment can be heavily influenced by favorable or unfavorable ecosystem conditions (Hislop et al., 2001).

The average of the L.piscatorius stock biomass indicator in the last two years (2012–2013) is 60% higher than the average of the three previous years (2009–2011). The abundance index suggests medium recruitment since 2008, with a decrease in 2013 (ICES, 2014c).

In the case of L.budegassa the biomass has been fluctuating, with generally higher values since 2007. The average of the stock biomass indicator in the last two years (2012–2013) is 33% higher than the average of the three previous years (2009–2011). Abundance is at the highest observed, with evidence of strong recruitment in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (ICES, 2014b).

A trawl fishery by Spanish and French vessels was developed in the Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay in the 1970s, and overall annual landings may have attained 35,000–40,000 t by the early 1980s. Landings decreased between 1981 and 1993 and since 2000 they show an increasing trend (ICES, 2014a) and have fluctuated around 33,000 t since 2003. The landings of both species combined were estimated to be 27,926 t in 2009, 28 880 t in 2010, 28 357 t in 2011 and 36 384 t in 2012. Estimated landings of 36 855 t in 2013 are at the highest level over the last 10 years and the fourth highest of the time series (ICES; 2014d).

France and Spain together still report more than 75% of the total landings of both species combined (ICES, 2014a). The remainder is taken by the UK and Ireland (around 10% each) and Belgium (less than 5%). Otter trawls (the main gear used by French, Spanish, and Irish vessels) currently take about 80% of the total landings of L. piscatorius and 95% of total landings of L. budegassa (ICES, 2014a).

Fishing effort for most fleets showed a decrease until the mid 1990’s-early 2000’s, remaining relatively stable thereafter.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 4 January 2015

Historically, the TAC has been set following the scientific advice. In 1995-1999, 2004 and 2006-2009 set TAC was equal or less than 10% higher than advised TAC, and in 2005 was set below advice. However, this situation has changed as in 2013 set TAC exceeded by 49% the amount advice by scientists, and in 2014 and 2015 the TAC has been set at 42,496 tons, 14% higher than the scientific advice (ICES 2014a; EC 2014).

It must be clarified that:

• Two separate TACs are set for both species combined: there is a TAC for Subarea VII and a TAC for Divisions VIIIa,b,d,e.

• The ICES advice applies to an area (Divisions VIIb–k and VIIIa,b,d) smaller than the management area (Subarea VII and Subdivisions VIIIa,b,d,e) for which the TAC is stablished (ICES 2014b, 2014d).

• The advice covers the majority of the area where landings occurred, as recent landings in Division VIIa have been relatively small compared to the total TAC (ICES 2014b, 2014d).

ICES states that management of the two anglerfish species under a combined TAC prevents effective control of the single-species exploitation rates and could potentially lead to overexploitation of either species (ICES 2014c).

Landings data are supplied from databases maintained by national Government Departments and research institutions (ICES 2014a). Countries providing landings data by quarter and ICES division are Spain, France, Ireland, United Kingdom and Belgium. The particularity of the data gathering processes for anglerfish species is that, except in Spain, anglerfishes are sold without any species distinction (ICES 2014a). The overall catch per species is estimated from the species ratio observed in the biological sampling (ICES, 2014b, 2014c).

Biological sampling is carried out by the countries contributing most to catches, but assumptions about species proportion have to be made for countries reporting raw tonnages for species combined. The amount of tonnage with no biological sampling for species composition has been much reduced since the early 2000s and in 2007 these represented less than 8% of the total Lophius landings (ICES 2014a). In some countries however, anglerfish are landed as tails only and conversion factors have to be used to estimate total length, which still may introduce errors (ICES 2014a). Management measures for both species must be considered together and in conjunction with other species caught in these fisheries (sole, cod, rays, megrim, Nephrops, and hake).

The majority of anglerfish catches (for both species) consists of immature fish. There are indications that discarding of small anglerfish has increased in recent years (ICES 2014b, 2014c). An increase in the discard sampling level is necessary for providing catch advice.

Council Regulation 1954/2003 (EC 2003) established measures for the management of fishing effort in a “biologically sensitive area” in Divisions VIIb, VIIj, VIIg, and VIIh. Effort exerted within the “biologically sensitive area” by the vessels of each EU Member Country may not exceed their average annual effort (calculated over the period 1998–2002) (ICES 2014b).

There is no minimum landing size for anglerfish, but an EU Council Regulation (EC 1996) laying down common marketing standards for certain fishery products fixes a minimum weight of 500 g for anglerfish.

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 04 Jan 2015

No specific management objectives for any of the two species are known to ICES (ICES, 2014b,c).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 4 January 2015

Underreporting of landings was substantial in previous years but is thought to have decreased as a result of improved enforcement (ICES, 2012a).

From 1987 to 2013 (a 27 year period) landings only exceeded the set TAC in five occasions (1995, 2002-05), and only in two occasions excess was higher than 15%. As calculated for 2013 data, catch was 36,855 t (ICES, 2014d), while set TAC was 36,953t (EC 39/2013). It cannot be concluded that compliance has been historically strong in the fishery however, as there are certain constraints (mismatch between assessment and management area, difficulties to transform landings into catches, indirect estimation of catch per species, discards not quantified…) that bring uncertainty to the question of compliance.

It is important to remark that all the fleets fishing in this area are reporting very large quantities of anglerfish on the fishing grounds and these quantities have been increasing over the recent few years (ICES, 2014b,c). This fact, coupled with the restrictive quota kept for some fleets, may have led to an increased risk of discarding (ICES, 2014b,c).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 29 January 2015

The following table from Pawson et al, 2014 and Hervás et al., 2014 is not designed to be exhaustive in terms of which PET species could be encountered by the different fisheries targeting the stock. For example, in relation to seabirds, their range changes with food availability, currents and storms, seasons, as well as success rates at their breeding colonies (Hervás et al., 2014).

SpeciesIUCNHabitats Directive (92/43/EEC)EU Council Reg 57/2011Birds Directive (2009/147/EC)
Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)LCApp. II  
Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina)LCApp. II  
Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)LCApp. II  
Tope (Galeorhinus galeus)VU   
Basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus)VU  
Angel shark (Squatina squatina)CR  
Common Skate (Dipturus batis)CR  
Spurdog (Squalus acanthias)VU  
Allis Shad (Alosa alosa)LCApp. II  
Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)VUApp. II  
Lophelia pertusa (as part of biogenic reefs) App. I  
Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)CR  App. I
Madeira Petrel (Pterodroma madeira)EN  App. I
Fea’s Petrel (Pterodroma feae)NT  App. I
Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)LC  App. I
Little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis)LC  App. I
Mediterranean gull (Larus melanocephalus)LC  App. I
Little gull (Larus minutus)LC  App. I
Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis)LC  App. I
Common tern (S. hirundo)LC  App. I
Arctic tern (S. paradisaea)LC  App. I
Roseate tern (S. dougallii)LC  App. I

IUCN: LC-Least concern (NOT PET sp);NT-Near threatened (NOT PET sp); VU-Vulnerable; EN-Endangered ; CR-Critically endangered

Bycatch of demersal elasmobranchs is a concern in the fisheries of the Celtic Sea and the Bay of Biscay, particularly of spurdog Squalus acanthias and tope Galeorhinus galeus (ICES 2008b), both classified as vulnerable on IUCN’s Red List (Fordham et al. 2006; Walker et al. 2006). Basking shark Cetorhinus maximus, also appears to be severely depleted in the Celtic Sea (ICES 2008b). In 2012, ICES advised on the basis of the precautionary approach that there should be no targeted fishery for spurdog in 2013 or 2014, that catches in mixed fisheries be reduced to the lowest possible level, and that a rebuilding plan should be developed for this stock. The prohibition of landing catches of spurdog by EU vessels has resulted in landings across all ICES subareas declining in recent years, though Sub-areas II–IV accounted for 70% of the total landings of spurdog in 2012 as spurdog is still subject to discards ban if caught in Norwegian waters and have to be landed (Pawson et al, 2014). In 2010, EU legislation restricting landings of Spurdog from EU waters to 10% of the previous year’s quota for this species came into effect (EC, 2010), while no landings from EU waters were permitted from 2011 onwards (EC 2011a).

Common skate is assessed as Critically Endangered globally on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (Dulvy et al. 2006a). Recent genetic research (Iglésias et al. 2009) indicates that the species reported as Dipturus batis is actually comprised of two species of Dipturus (provisionally D. cf.flossada and D. cf. intermedia). The implications of these observations are that members of the ‘_D. batis_’ species complex are even more depleted than formerly understood. A prohibition for EU vessels to fish for, to retain on board, to transship or to land common skate in EU waters of ICES division IIa and ICES subareas III, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX and X was introduced in 2010 (EC 2011a). The potential impact on D. batis encountered in the Southwest UK fisheries (subareas VIIe-h) was rated a ‘4.5’ under the “SICA” (Scale, Intensity and Consequence Analysis) ecological risk assessment scale, where a ‘0’ rating reflects no impact and a ‘5’ rating reflects potentially catastrophic impacts on a particular species or component (Seafish 2014a). Other elasmobranchs encountered in the Southwest UK that are classified as IUCN endangered status include the undulate ray (Raja undulata) (Coelho et al. 2009), the white skate (Rostroraja alba) (Dulvy et al. 2006b, and the critically endangered angel shark (Squatina squatina) (Morey et al. 2006), all of which were assigned SICA scores between ‘4.4’ – ‘4.5’. All three are also EU prohibited species. A number of additional species are classified as IUCN ‘near-threatened’, among which the longnose skate (Dipturus oxyrinchus) (Ungaro et al. 2007) received the most severe SICA score (‘4.5’). D. oxyrinchus is EU prohibited. For some of the skate species, including D. batis and R. alba, high discard survival may ameliorate impacts.

Occasional but rare occurrence of Harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena mortality in mobile gear is documented by Fertl & Leatherwood (1997). Both Harbour seal and Grey seal are also known to be captured incidentally in bottom and demersal gears as well as in the set net fishery (Pawson et al, 2014). Incidental capture of seals is believed to happen when they are foraging around mobile gears (Morizur et al 1999).

The supply of discards, particularly from demersal fisheries, has been shown to be positively correlated with seabird distribution and population state (ICES 2008b). There are a number of seabird species listed as PET whose range covers parts of the fishing area, though little interaction is known to occur between seabirds and bottom trawling. There is still a potential for interaction during hauling of gear. It can also be noted that there are no protected bird sites (SPA in the Natura 2000 network) in the area where the fishery occurs, although each of the member states where the fishery occurs (UK and Ireland) have designated appropriate sites elsewhere (Hervás et al., 2014).

Other Species

Last updated on 29 January 2015

Other species in the diverse community of which anglerfish is a component may also be caught, depending on the gear type, fishing area and biological conditions: megrim, hake, nephrops, sole, seabass, ling, blue ling, greater forkbeard, tusk, whiting, blue whiting, Trachurus spp, conger, pout, cephalopods (octopus, Loligidae, Ommastrephidae and cuttlefish) and rays (ICES 2008b).

Main retained species are highly likely to be within biologically based limits, or if outside the limits there is a partial strategy of demonstrably effective management measures in place such that the fishery does not hinder recovery and rebuilding (Pawson et al, 2014; Hervàs et al. 2014).

The majority of anglerfish catches (for both species) consists of immature fish (ICES, 2014b;d). Estimation of discards has been carried out by some countries, showing that an increasing proportion of small fish of both species are caught and discarded. After an extensive analysis of discard data by WKFLAT 2012, discard estimates were considered not to be precise enough to be used in the assessment (ICES 2014d). Therefore, reliable estimates of discards are not available and they cannot be quantified.

The increase in discarding in recent years may be related to larger year classes recruiting to the fishery from 2008 to 2011, as information from research surveys indicates an increase in smaller fish on the fishing grounds in recent years (ICES 2014b;d). This fact, together with the quota restrictions for some fleets may lead to an increase risk of discarding (ICES 2014b;c). However, discarding is also known to be partly dependent on market conditions and quota restrictions. Efforts should be made to obtain reliable estimates of total catches in order to improve the assessment (ICES 2014b,c). Besides, measures should be taken to ensure survival of recent recruitment (ICES 2014d).

Meanwhile, conclusions drawn from a review of bycatch and discard themed research (Rochet et al. 2014) advised that no single management measure or framework is likely to address the general issue of discarding. A fishery-, and in some cases species-tailored approach was recommended to maximize the effectiveness of various solutions. Incentive-based solutions in particular were suggested as the most promising bycatch and discard mitigation measures.

Since the introduction of the high opening trawls in the mid-1990s, no significant changes in fishing technology have been introduced in the hake trawl fishery. However, since discard ban was assumed as one of the objectives of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) approved in 2014, gear selectivity has become a key issue for the fishing industry and Estate Member and new findings are likely to happen in a close future.

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 January 2015

Lophius piscatorius is a Northeastern Atlantic species, with a distribution area from Norway (Barents Sea) to the Straits of Gibraltar (and including the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). Lophius budegassa has a more southern distribution from the British islands and Ireland to Senegal (including the Mediterranean and the Black Sea). Although ICES considers different anglerfish stocks in different areas for each species, the boundaries are not based on biological criteria (ICES, 2014b,c).

80% of L. piscatorius and 95% of L. budegassa is caught by bottom otter trawling (ICES, 2014a), a gear that may cause severe impacts on benthic communities (ICES 2008b). Impacts are generally greatest for sensitive communities such as corals, burrowing mega fauna and seapens, all of which may be slow growing and long lived. Maerl and seagrass beds are also considered to be vulnerable to the effects of mobile gears. Long lived and slow growing species tend to be removed by multiple passes of trawls or by the effects of sedimentation as each pass of the net re-suspends sediment which then may settle on and smother sessile fauna. In this way, large, long lived and slow growing fauna may gradually be replaced by smaller, short lived and abundant populations of fast growing organisms which have a greater capacity for recovery through rapid reproduction and recolonisation. In addition, habitats that typically are not subject to high rates of natural disturbance from current and/or wave action tend to support more complex communities that are less resilient to physical impacts. Trawling may affect seabed habitats and communities by removing boulders and stones, flattening relief and the reducing the seabed to a flat two dimensional structure.

However, the patchy distribution of fishing effort, and soft bottom sediments favoured by anglerfish, limit this type of ecosystem effect. In general, the gear is designed for fishing on mud, sand, and sandy mud seabed sediments that dominate in the areas where the fishery takes place. Seabeds are relatively homogenous throughout the area or may comprise a mosaic of sediments, and according to the EUN habitat survey the main habitats are ‘mud and sandy mud’, ‘sand and muddy sand’ and ‘coarse sediments’ (data and maps can be consulted at the European Marine Observation and Data Network – EMODnet).

There is a good knowledge of habitat types and changes over time in this region which associated with fishing locations (i.e. from VMS data) can be used to support management decisions and evaluate how risks change over time (Hervás et al., 2014). It would be advisable to compare location of known sensitive / vulnerable habitats (available on OSPAR or EMODnet websites) with the location of fishing vessel activities (from VMS), in order to identify those areas with a higher degree of overlapping. Nowadays, management of potential impacts is facilitated in part through effective monitoring of the spatial and temporal aspects of the trawl fishery, although there could be more comprehensive information in relation to the seabed habitats and communities that may be associated with the areas that are most intensively fished (Pawson and Pfeiffer, 2014). This information would allow assessing on the harm caused by this bottom trawl fishery to habitat structure and function, and any possible interaction with sensitive or vulnerable seabed habitats as defined by OSPAR.

The fishery also operates within the terms of the Common Fisheries Policy, Article 2 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 (31) provides that the CFP is to apply the precautionary approach in taking measures to minimise the impact of fishing activities on marine ecosystems. The CFP imposes a range of restrictions and requirements on national fishing fleets and individual vessels which indirectly limit the impact that fisheries may have on EU seabed habitats. Some key elements of CFP fishing rules include:

• A requirement for all vessels to be registered on the national register

• All vessels >15 m in length must carry a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) – a means for monitoring and spatial management of fishing activity of the fleet

• Regulations that set clear limits in terms of fishing effort (KW hours), fishery removals (TAC’s, nationalquotas) and fleet capacity

Under EU Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, coastal EU countries have created an ecologically-coherent network of protected areas within which the most sensitive and /or vulnerable habitats and species are protected.

There is currently no multi-species working group for this region, and hence there has been no coordinated effort towards exploring predator-prey relationships and inter-dependencies among commercial species (ICES 2008a).

Included in the recent ecological risk assessment of Southwest UK fisheries (Seafish 2014a) was review of potential trawl fishery impacts on habitats and community assemblages. Scoring was not completed for all components, but notable ratings were realized for fish community indicators, with SICA scores of ‘4.5’ reflecting declining proportions of large fish in the fishery. Such trends are considered a threat to the stability of fish communities, and the report emphasized that the only means of reversing this trend is to reduce fishing mortality through increased selectivity and effort control.

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 29 Jan 2015

Several vulnerable deep sea habitats are protected, with bottom trawling and fishing with static gear prohibited, including the Hatton Bank, North West Rockall, South West Rockall, the Logachev Mound, West Rockall Mound (Subarea VI), the Belgica Mound province, the Hovland Mound province, North West Porcupine Bank and the South West Porcupine Bank (Subarea VII) (EC, 2009; 2013). Besides the EU implements other spatial measures for the conservation of fishery resources for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms (EC, 2009; 2013).

Member states may also declare emergency closures of areas within their jurisdiction for a maximum period of 21 days in cases of serious threats to the conservation of a species or fishing grounds (EC, 2009).

Council Regulation 1954/2003 (EC, 2003) established measures for the management of fishing effort in a “biologically sensitive area” in Divisions VIIb, VIIj, VIIg, and VIIh. Effort exerted within the “biologically sensitive area” by the vessels of each EU Member Country may not exceed their average annual effort (calculated over the period 1998–2002).

Under EU Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, coastal EU countries have created an ecologically-coherent network of protected areas within which the most sensitive and /or vulnerable habitats and species are protected.

Besides, the UK Marine Act require Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to be designated in England and Wales, to form a representative network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in conjunction with other types of MPA designation (most significantly, marine Natura 2000 sites). 27 Marine Conservation Zones were designated on November 2013 (click here to see Ministerial Orders for every MCZ), they are distributed through ICES Divisions IVb,c and VIIa,d,e,f,g,h.(click here to visualize the different MPAs around UK)

FishSource Scores

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is < 6.

No specific management objectives are known. Management of the two anglerfish species under a combined TAC prevents effective control of the single-species exploitation rates and could potentially lead to the overexploitation of either species (ICES 2014c).

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is 7.8.

This measures the Set TAC as a percentage of the Advised TAC.

The Set TAC is 42.5 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 37.4 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 113%.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Landings as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Landings is 36.9 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 37.0 ('000 t) .

The underlying Landings/Set TAC for this index is 99.9%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The stocks are not expected to be affected if recent catch levels are maintained, as recognized by the ICES working group in charge of assessing this fishery (WGBIE) (ICES, 2014d). However, long-term abundance trends cannot be fully assessed due to poor data quality. The biomass of L.piscatorius has increased. The average of the stock biomass indicator in the last two years (2012–2013) is 60% higher than the average of the three previous years (2009–2011). The abundance index suggests medium recruitment since 2008, with a decrease in 2013 (ICES 2014c). In the case of L.budegassa the biomass has been fluctuating, with generally higher values since 2007. The average of the stock biomass indicator in the last two years (2012–2013) is 33% higher than the average of the three previous years (2009–2011). Abundance is at the highest observed, with evidence of strong recruitment in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (ICES 2014b).

As calculated for 2014 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

The stocks are not expected to be affected if recent catch levels are maintained (ICES 2014d). Fishing effort for most fleets showed a decrease until the mid1990’s-early 2000’s, remaining relatively stable thereafter. From 2011 to 2013 a sharp decrease in the Spanish trawler fleets from Vigo (41 % reduction) and A Coruña (77 % reduction) ports was recorded. In 2013 the Spanish trawlers has reached the series maximum values for LPUE (Landings per unit effort) (ICES 2014d). However, fishing pressure on immature individuals is still regarded as high (it seems to be increasing) (ICES 2014d). Besides, discard sampling is insufficient and discards cannot be quantified. A recent ecological risk assessment of fisheries in the Southwest UK region highlighted similar strengths and weaknesses (Seafish 2014a; 2014b). The impact of these fisheries on anglerfish was given a “SICA” (Scale, Intensity and Consequence Analysis) score of ‘3’, on a scale in which a ‘0’ rating reflects no impact and a ‘5’ rating reflects potentially catastrophic impacts on a particular species or component.

No data available for biomass
No data available for biomass
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for fishing mortality
No data available for fishing mortality
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. Due to deficiencies in discarding data and ageing, no analytical assessment can be conducted for either species. As a consequence, there is a lack of biomass, fishing mortality series and reference points. In the absence of available quantitative data to answer scores 1, 4 and 5 qualitative information was used.
  2. Quantitative information was used for answering scores 2 and 3.
  3. Advised and Set TACs and landings are for both species. There is a TAC and advice area misalignment: the quantitative advised TAC applies to Divisions VIIb-k and VIIIa,b,d, while set TACs and landings also include Division VIIIe and remaining areas of Division VII.
  4. Since 2005 landings are kept below Set TAC. Discards are not quantified but seem to be increasing, namely for small anglerfish. Therefore, total catches cannot be calculated. Underreporting of landings was substantial in previous years but is thought to have decreased as a result of improved enforcement (ICES 2012a).

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

C&WSTG English Channel megrim, monk and sole beam trawl

STATUS

Withdrawn on 4 December 2014

SCORES

Certification Type:

Sources

Credits

The following authors contributed the majority of the content of this profile:

Fernández, Cynthia (cynthia@uvigo.es): Facultade de Ciencias do Mar, Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, Universidad de Vigo, 36210 Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain.

Macho, Gonzalo (gmacho@uvigo.es): Facultade de Ciencias do Mar, Campus Lagoas-Marcosende, Universidad de Vigo, 36210 Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain.

Ríos, José (joserios@consultorpesquero.com): Palmás, 1º Domaio, 36957 Moaña (Pontevedra), Spain.

under contract to CLUPESCA (Clúster del Sector Pesquero Extractivo y Productor)
Ed. Ramiro Gordejuela, Puerto Pesquero s/n
36202 Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain.
Email: arvi@arvi.org

References (without direct web links)

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  2. Cetmar, 2011. Memoria Global Proyecto singular-estratégico PSE-Redes: Mejora de la selectividad y la selección de las artes de pesca para la reducción de los descartes. Desarrollos y posibles repercusiones en el sector extractivo. SPROYECTO PSE-060000-2009-7. PSE REDES Website: https://web.archive.org/web/20140106083853/http:/pseredes.org/
  3. Coelho, R., Bertozzi, M.,Ungaro. N. & Ellis, J. 2009. Raja undulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/161425/0
  4. Council Regulation (EC) No 39/2013. 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. January 2013http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2013:023:0001:0053:EN:PDF
  5. De Oliveira, J. A. A., Ellis, J. R., and Dobby, H., 2013. Incorporating density dependence in pup production in a stock assessment of NE Atlantic spurdog Squalus acanthias. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi.10.1093/icesjms/fst080. http://icesjms.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/08/12/icesjms.fst080.full
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References

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