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Profile updated on 29 November 2023
Norway lobster, nephrops
The Irish Sea East Nephrops stock (FU14) is in ICES Subarea 7and comprises ICES rectangles: 38E5, 38E6, 37E6, 36E6, 35E6. In FU14 Nephrops are caught on two spatially discrete grounds. Most of the fishery takes place on the main ground located between the West coast of England and the Isle of Man, additionally, there is also fishing activity in a small inshore ground known as Wigtown Bay. (ICES 2020)
Differences in N. norvegicus population demographic structure among geographical sectors and 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).
The perception in the Irish Sea is that the growth rates in the eastern Irish Sea are similar to those in the western Irish Sea but the mean sizes (CLmm) in each fishery are markedly different, with the eastern Irish Sea Nephrops being the larger.(ICES 2016)
Stocks are assessed at a Functional Unit (FU) level. Each FU corresponds to a specific habitat area. However, the 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.(ICES 2023)
There is an EU multiannual plan (MAP) (EU 2019) that has been agreed upon for this stock and is considered it to be precautionary when implemented at the FU level. There is no agreement between the EU and the UK regarding this plan, and it is not used as the basis for the advice for this stock. ICES provides catch scenarios consistent with the FMSY ranges in the MAP.