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.

The fishery is mixed for Nephrops and demersal fishes (Moody Marine, 2010; ICES, 2012a).

This fishery was withdrawn by the Marine Stewardship Council system in January 2013. Click here to link to the MSC fishery page. The Norway lobster – Botney Gut – Silver Pit shares the same MSC assessment.


ANALYSIS

Strengths

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Mixed-fisheries advice was provided by ICES for the first time in 2012. Accuracy of reporting has been improved through “buyers and sellers” regulations. 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.

Weaknesses

The stock is apparently overexploited, due to a skewed sex ratio. Harvest rates on males are high and there is evidence of sperm limitation. TACs are set at the subunit level rather than at the functional unit level, which has resulted in excessive effort and resultant low stock levels. Effort increased in 2011 in Farn Deeps and there is a risk of a further increase, as abundance declines in other Functional Units. Bycatch is 23% of catches in weight.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

< 6

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

0

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

NOT YET SCORED

Future Health:

NOT YET SCORED


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

  • United Kingdom Norway lobster - pot/trap & trawl:

    Stage 2

CERTIFICATIONS

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

    Withdrawn

  • Southern 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
Farn Deeps European Union, Division 4b United Kingdom Bottom trawls
Pots

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths

A fishery-independent assessment of abundance is available. Mixed-fisheries advice was provided by ICES for the first time in 2012. Accuracy of reporting has been improved through “buyers and sellers” regulations. 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.

Weaknesses

The stock is apparently overexploited, due to a skewed sex ratio. Harvest rates on males are high and there is evidence of sperm limitation. TACs are set at the subunit level rather than at the functional unit level, which has resulted in excessive effort and resultant low stock levels. Effort increased in 2011 in Farn Deeps and there is a risk of a further increase, as abundance declines in other Functional Units. Bycatch is 23% of catches in weight.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 3 January 2017

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

The stock assessment, for each Functional Unit (FU), is based on one Under Water Television (UWTV) survey linked to yield-per-recruit analysis from length data. 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 1,400 tons for 2013 for FU 6 (Farn Deeps) 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 1,100 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, based on F35%SPR for males was determined taking into account differences in exploitation rates between sexes, stock resilience, factors affecting recruitment, population density, knowledge of biological parameters, the nature of the fishery, historical landings and stock status. MSY Btrigger was revised (due to UWTV survey improvement) and set at 890,000 million individuals (ICES, 2012a).

CURRENT STATUS

The stock has been recovering since 2009 and in 2011 was at 870,000 million, below MSY Btrigger. The harvest rate at 11.4% is above FMSYproxy of 8%. Total landings, in a decreasing trend, are at 20,000 tons; for FU 6 are at around 2,100 tons – Farn Deeps is the only FU in a diminishing landings trend. Effort in this FU can increase, has happened in 2006, due to lower abundance in other FU which is inadvisable as signs of overexploitation have been shown in former years (ICES, 2012a).

Trends

The abundance index was revised. After the maximum value registered in 2005 (1657 millions) abundance has been decreasing until 2009 (683 millions), coincident with the increase in the effort level, and since then has been recovering but is still below MSY Btrigger. Except for 2008 at 6.4%, the effort level has always been above FMSY. 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.

Landings in Farn Deeps (FU 6) were at average 2,200 tons between 1996 and 2004 and increased to 4,868 tons in 2006 (62% above ICES advice), in consequence of improvement in catches’ reporting but also due to additional effort increase – this possibly resulted in alterations in breeding success and recruitment (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).

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).

Other Species

Bycatch and discards comprise cod, haddock and whiting but also plaice, lemon sole and rays (Moody Marine, 2010; ICES, 2012a), and can be of high proportion due to the 80mm of mesh size mainly used. 
In Farn Deeps, discards are composed of (proportion in weight): cod (6%), Dab Limanda limanda (13%), haddock and Nephrops (each 5%) (Moody Marine, 2010); mortality of Nephrops can attain 75% (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 of 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.

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)

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is < 6.

No specific management objectives are in place. There is a time lag between surveys and resulting TAC settings. Management is at the Subarea level rather than the Functional Unit level which has led to a decrease in stock size, and a renewed increase in effort may occur which could reduce the already low stock size (ICES, 2012a).

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Set TAC is 17.4 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 18.1 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 95.8%.

As calculated for 2011 data.

The score is 0.0.

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

The Catch is 870 (M individuals). The Set TAC is 23.5 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 3710%.

STOCK HEALTH:

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.
No data available for stock status
No data available for stock status

No related analysis

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

SELECT FIP

Access FIP Public Report

Evaluation Start Date: 17 Jun 2019
Type: Comprehensive

Comments:

FIP transitioned from prospective to active. FIP now at stage 2.

1.
FIP Development
May 19
2.
FIP Launch
Apr 19
Jun 19
3.
FIP Implementation
FIP activities undertaken
4.
Improvements in Fishing Practices and Fishery Management
Verifiable improvement in policy/management and fishing practices
5.
Improvements on the Water
Verifiable improvement on the water
6.
MSC certification (optional)
MSC certificate made public

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

ICES, 2012a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee 2012. Book 6: The North Sea. 6.4.14: Nephrops in Subarea IV (North Sea). Advice summary for 2013, 64 pp. http://www.ices.dk/committe/acom/comwork/report/2012/2012/Neph-IV.pdf

Moody Marine, 2010. Public Comment Draft Report for the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group, North Sea Nephrops Trawl Fishery, 170 pp. http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/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

Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG), undated. North Sea Nephrops withdrawn from accreditation process. [Accessed online 17th February 2013] http://www.scottishfsag.org/news/43-north-sea-nephrops-withdrawn-from-accreditation-process.html

References

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