Last updated on 12 September 2016

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Clupea harengus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic herring

According the latest research, there is no genetic differentiation  between the Atlantic herring populations of Icelandic and Norwegian waters (Pampoulie et al. 2015).


ANALYSIS

Strengths

Current fishing mortality is increasing but still at sustainable levels (i.e., currently at FMSY); assessment uses up-to-date methods. Area closures for management purposes are in place. No evidence of harmful impacts of the fishery on PET species or habitat. The decline in spawning biomass observed in recent years (likely related with the Ichthyophonus infection that affected the stock) seems to have stopped in 2011; spawning biomass has increased since and is currently estimated well above the reference points. The set TAC for 2013/2014 was in line with scientific advice.

Weaknesses

There is still some uncertainty about the effects of the Icthyophonus infection on the stock, but the infection mortality seems to be lower than previously anticipated. Fishers’ compliance with set TACs has been improving, but reported catches remain slightly above TACs. The available data on the impacts of fishing on the PET species in Iceland is scarce

Options

The scientific advice and “informal” management plan should be followed setting TAC in agreement with target F. Compliance by fishers should be enforced, in order to follow the set catch thresholds.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 8

Managers Compliance:

10

Fishers Compliance:

9.2

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

8


FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • ISF Norwegian & Icelandic herring trawl and seine:

    MSC Certified

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
Icelandic summer-spawning Iceland Iceland Drift gillnets
Midwater trawls
Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Strengths

Current fishing mortality is increasing but still at sustainable levels (i.e., currently at FMSY); assessment uses up-to-date methods. Area closures for management purposes are in place. No evidence of harmful impacts of the fishery on PET species or habitat. The decline in spawning biomass observed in recent years (likely related with the Ichthyophonus infection that affected the stock) seems to have stopped in 2011; spawning biomass has increased since and is currently estimated well above the reference points. The set TAC for 2013/2014 was in line with scientific advice.

Weaknesses

There is still some uncertainty about the effects of the Icthyophonus infection on the stock, but the infection mortality seems to be lower than previously anticipated. Fishers’ compliance with set TACs has been improving, but reported catches remain slightly above TACs. The available data on the impacts of fishing on the PET species in Iceland is scarce

Options

The scientific advice and “informal” management plan should be followed setting TAC in agreement with target F. Compliance by fishers should be enforced, in order to follow the set catch thresholds.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

The data used in the assessment are from catch-at-age and one age-structured acoustic survey index performed on an Age-based analytical model (NFT-ADAPT). The stock size was overestimated for many years resulting in TAC advice that lead on average to a higher fishing mortality (F) than intended by the target (F0.1= 0.22). Contrarily to the previous assumptions, the Ichthyophonus infection is now estimated to have caused significant infection mortality in 2009-10. Despite the remaining uncertainties in the estimates of the 2008 and 2009, the quality of the assessment has improved. Discards are considered ‘negligible’, thus not included in the assessment (ICES, 2013a). A domestic stock assessment and scientific advice are also provided annually by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute (MRI).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

ICES advice for 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 was to keep fishing effort at Fpa corresponding to a catch of 131,000 and 75,000 tonnes, respectively. For the 2011/2012 season, no initial advice was provided by ICES in light of the assessment uncertainty associated with the Ichthyophonus infection (ICES, 2012a). But the prevalence of Ichthyophonus infection was then considered much lower, and infection mortality to only have been significant in 2009 and 2010. Based on this assumption that the stock is currently well above the reference points, ICES has recommended, on the basis of the MSY approach, catches in 2013/2014 of no more than 87,000 tonnes (ICES, 2013a).

F0.1 (= 0.22), which has been used as the target fishing mortality (Fpa) for many years, forming part of the present management strategy, is considered by ICES to be consistent with the MSY approach (ICES, 2012a).

Reference Points

The following biological reference points have been defined for this stock: Blim = 200,000 tonnes; Bpa=MSY Btrigger = 300,000 tonnes. Fpa(=F0.1) =0.22, which has been used as a target. FMSY was recently estimated and is the same as Fpa (= 0.22) (ICES, 2012a).

CURRENT STATUS

According to the latest assessment, the stock is being harvested “sustainably” and at “full reproductive capacity” (ICES, 2013a). The 2012 fishing mortality was estimated at 0.22, i.e., at Fpa = 0.22. After a decreasing trend from 2008 to 2011 (likely due to the Ichthyophonus infection that affected the stock) spawining biomass has increased since and is currently well above the reference pints MSY Btrigger (=Bpa). SSB in the beginning of 2013 was estimated at 541 thousand tonnes, well above the reference points. The latest recruiting year classes are strong and apparently have not been affected by the Ichthyophonus infection (ICES, 2013a; MRI, 2013).

Trends

Fishing mortality (F) was above Fpa during most of the time series until 2008, but has decreased sharply in 2009 (F = 0.08). It has been increasing since and is currently at Fpa. Spawning biomass was in high levels until 2008, but decreased considerably from 2009 to 2011 likely due to mortality associated with Ichthyophonus infection of the stock. As a result, and due to more restrictive TACs between 2009 and 2012, landings also decreased considerably during this period, from around 150 thousand tonnes to around 45-50 tonnes. The infection seems however to only have significantly affected the stock during 2009-10 and SSB has been increasing since 2011. In 2013, SSB was estimated to be well above Bpa (ICES, 2013a,b).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Management has been based on an informal plan for this stock for more than 30 years which aimed at keeping F at F0.1 (= 0.22 = Fpa). However, no formal management strategy has been adopted yet (ICES, 2013a,b). A system of Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) is implemented since 1990 (IMFA, 2012b). The fishery is limited to the period within the 1st September-1st May, but mostly takes place from September to February; other regulations include area closures for juvenile protection and bycatch limits (ICES, 2013b).

With a few exceptions, managers have generally followed scientific advice. In 2010/2011 and 2011/2012, no initial advice was provided by ICES, owing to uncertainties in the assessment related with the Ichthyophonus infection. The agreed TACs were based on a domestic advice issued in autumn (ICES, 2013a). For the 2013/2014 fishing season, after an initial TAC of 86,500 tonnes (IMFA, 2013a), the TAC was later revised to 83,000 tonnes (IMFA, 2013b), i.e. in line with the advised by ICES

Recovery Plans

There are no recovery plans in place for this stock.

COMPLIANCE

Since 2003, catches have been generally above set TACs. In 2008/2009 there was a TAC overshoot of about 17%. Since then, the gap between set TAC and catches has been decreasing and in 2011/2012 catches (72,000 tonnes) were just 5% above set TAC (68,500 tonnes). No discards were reported thus are considered to not be relevant (ICES, 2013a,b).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

The seabird community in Icelandic waters is composed of relatively few but abundant species, accounting for roughly ¼ of total number and biomass of seabirds within the ICES area and at least 12 species of cetaceans occur regularly in Icelandic waters, and additional 10 species have been recorded more sporadically. Four cetacean species are listed in the IUCN Red List as “Endangered (EN)” or “Vulnerable (VU)”: Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus, EN), Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis, EN), Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus, EN) and Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus, VU) (IUCN, 2013). Two species of seals, common seal Phoca vitulina (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List) and grey seal Halichoerus grypus (Least Concern; 2013 IUCN Red List) breed in Icelandic waters, while 5 northern species of pinnipeds are found in the area (ICES, 2012b).

The available data on the impacts of fishing on the PET species in Iceland is scarce. There are some problems on the decline in population for some marine mammals, though they are not directly related to fisheries.

Iceland is a member of The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission (NAMMCO), created in 1992 jointly with Greenland, Faroe Islands and Norway, and whose main goal is the conservation and management of all cetacean and pinniped species that occur in the region (ICES, 2010d).

Other Species

Herring is the only target species of the fishery but from 2004/2005 to 2006/2007 Norwegian spring-spawning herring was found mixed with the Icelandic summer-spawning herring stock in the purse seine fishery. Herring pelagic trawl fisheries were introduced in 1997-1998, but have been decreasing in importance in recent years. Bycatch and discards of other species in the herring fishery is low (ICES, 2011a,b; Bianchi and Skjoldal, 2008).

There are management measures in place to prevent bycatch of juvenile herring (< 27 cm) and other species: area closures are enforced if proportion of juvenile herring exceeds 25% in number; pelagic trawlers are prohibited to operate inside the 12 nm fishing zone (ICES, 2012b)

HABITAT

Purse seines and pelagic trawls are the only gears used in the fishery. Although these gears are pelagic, purse seines are used in shallow waters in this fishery, particularly in the fjords and where the substrate is flat-bed volcanic sands so damage to benthos and substrate cannot be excluded.

Five areas of cold-water corals are fully protected, and more currently under consideration (ICES, 2012b).

Marine Reserves

Several area closures – permanent, temporal and seasonal – exist in the Iceland waters for fisheries management purposes, to avoid captures of undersized herring and protect juveniles (ICES, 2011b; IMFA, 2012b).
Seven designated Nature Reserves, established from 1974 to 1988, and one Conservation Area, designated in 1995, exist along the Icelandic coast and off Surtsey Island totaling 3,507 km2 (Wood, 2007).

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

manage this stock at a target fishing mortality of F0.1=0.22 (=FMSY). ICES considers this target to be ‘consistent with the MSY approach’ (ICES, 2013a)

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 83.0 ('000 t). The Advised TAC is 87.0 ('000 t) .

The underlying Set TAC/Advised TAC for this index is 95.4%.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 9.2.

This measures the Estimated catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Estimated catch is 72.0 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 68.5 ('000 t) .

The underlying Estimated catch/Set TAC for this index is 105%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the SSBpa.

The SSB is 541 ('000 t). The SSBpa is 300 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/SSBpa for this index is 180%.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 8.0.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F0.1.

The F is 0.220 (age-averaged). The F0.1 is 0.220 .

The underlying F/F0.1 for this index is 100%.

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. The Icelandic herring TACs apply to the period from September 1 to May 1 the following year.
  2. The SSB estimate for 2012 does not take into account the two incidents of mass mortality that took place in Kolgrafafjörður  (ICES, 2013a).

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

ISF Norwegian & Icelandic herring trawl and seine

STATUS

MSC Certified on 29 May 2014

SCORES

Principle Level Scores:

Principle Norwegian Icelandic spring spawning herring – pelagic trawl Icelandic summer spawning herring – pelagic trawl Icelandic summer spawning herring – purse seine
Principle 1 - Target Species 87.5 90.0 90.0
Principle 2 - Ecosystem 88.0 87.7 91.0
Principle 3 - Management System 92.0 92.5 92.5

Certification Type: Bronze

Sources

Credits

Bianchi, G., Skjoldal, H. R. 2008. The Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 384 p. [Available online] http://books.google.pt/books?id=50P1-VTCY5MC&lpg=PA257&ots=XQtGF0YhH1&dq=herring%20fishery%20iceland%20impact%20ecosystem%20species&hl=pt-PT&pg=PA257#v=onepage&q=herring%20fishery%20iceland%20impact%20ecosystem%20species&f=false

Iceland Responsible Fisheries (IRF), 2012. News: “Increased cod quota for 2012/2013”. 16 July 2012.http://www.responsiblefisheries.is/news-and-media/news/increased-cod-quota-for-2012-2013/94/

ICES, 2008. Advice for Icelandic summer-spawning herring (Division Va). Report of the ICES Advisory Committee on Fishery Management, Advisory Committee on the Marine Environment and Advisory Committee on Ecosystems, 2008. ICES Advice. Book 2, section 2.4.10. 6 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2008/2008/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2009. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee. Book 2: Iceland and Greenland. 2.4.12 Icelandic summer-spawning herring (Division Va) http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2009/2009/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2010a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee. Book 2: Iceland and Greenland. 2.4.13 Icelandic summer-spawning herring (Division Va). Advice summary for 2010/2011. 6 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2010/2010/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2010b. Report of the North-Western Working Group (NWWG), 27 April - 4 May 2010, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2010/ACOM:07. 751 pp. http://www.ices.dk/publications/library/Pages/default.aspx

ICES, 2010c. Report of the Study Group on Bycatch of Protected Species (SGBYC), 1–4 February 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark (ICES CM 2010/ACOM:25). 123 pp. http://www.ices.dk/reports/ACOM/2010/SGBYC/sgbyc_final_2010.pdf

ICES, 2010d. Report of the Working Group on Marine Mammal Ecology (WGMME), 12–15 April 2010, Horta, The Azores (ICES CM 2010/ACOM:24). 212 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2010/WGMME/wgmme_final_2010.pdf

ICES, 2011a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 2: The Iceland and East Greenland 2.4.13 Ecoregion: Iceland and East Greenland. Stock: Herring in Division Va (Icelandic summer-spawning herring). Advice summary for 2011/2012, 7 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2011/2011/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2011b. Report of the North Western Working Group (NWWG), 26 April - 3 May 2011, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2011/ACOM:7. 975 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2011/NWWG/NWWG%20Report%202011.pdf

ICES, 2012a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 2: 2.4.13 Ecoregion: Iceland and East Greenland; Stock: Herring in Division Va (Icelandic summer-spawning herring). Advice June 2012. 7 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2012/2012/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2012b. Report of the North-Western Working Group (NWWG), 26 April - 3 May 2012, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen (ICES CM 2012/ACOM:07). 1425 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2012/NWWG/NWWG%20Report%20%202012.pdf

ICES, 2013a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 2: The Iceland and East Greenland 2.4.7 Ecoregion: Iceland and East Greenland. Stock: Herring in Division Va (Icelandic summer-spawning herring). Advice summary for 2013/2014, 6 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2013/2013/her-vasu.pdf

ICES, 2013b. Report of the North Western Working Group (NWWG), 25 April - 02 May 2013, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:07. 1538 pp.http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2013/NWWG/NWWG%202013.pdf

IMFA, 2010. Total Allowable Catch. Information centre of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.http://www.fisheries.is/management/total-allowable-catch/

IMFA, 2012a. Management, Total allowable catch. Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. [Assessed on 20th March 2012].http://www.fisheries.is/management/total-allowable-catch/

IMFA, 2012b. Main species, Pelagic fishes, Atlantic herring. Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. [Assessed on 20th April 2012].http://www.fisheries.is/management/fisheries-management/area-closures/

IMFA, 2012c. Management, Fisheries management, Individual Transferable Quotas. Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. [Assessed on 20th April 2012]. http://www.fisheries.is/management/fisheries-management/individual-transferable-quotas/

IMFA, 2013a. Regulation 662/2013: TACs for the commercial fisheries, fishing season 2013/2014 (via Google Translate). Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (IMFA). 10 July 2013. http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/webguard.nsf/lookByNumer/6622013?OpenDocument

IMFA, 2013b. Regulation 1039/2013: amendment (6) of regulation 662/2013, on TACs for the commercial fisheries, fishing season 2013/2014 (via Google Translate). Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture (IMFA). 25 November 2013.http://www.reglugerd.is/interpro/dkm/WebGuard.nsf/2d8cdab9a540c73600256a0d0055eeb1/01C4FE061CFB22B000257C350053F934?OpenDocument

Marine Research Institute (MRI), 2011. English summary of the State of Marine Stocks in Icelandic waters 2010/2011, Prospects for the Quota Year 2011/2012, 6 p. http://www.hafro.is/Astand/2011/35-engl-sum.PDF

MRI, 2012. Status Report 2012: State of Marine Stocks in Icelandic waters 2011/2012 – Prospects for the Quota Year 2012/2013 [full report]. Marine Research Institute (MRI). Reykjavik, Iceland. 189 pp.http://www.hafro.is/Astand/2012/Astandsskyrsla_hafrannsoknastofnunarinnar_2012_lokaprentun.pdf

MRI, 2013. State of Marine Stocks in Icelandic waters 2012/2013 – Prospects for the Quota Year 2013/2014. Marine Research Institute. Reykjavik, Iceland. 190 pp. http://www.hafro.is/Astand/2013/astand-kynning2013.pdf

Wood, L.J., 2007. MPA Global: A database of the world's marine protected areas. Sea Around Us Project, UNEP-WCMC & WWF. [Accessed on 01 March 2013] http://www.mpaglobal.org

References

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    Atlantic herring - Icelandic summer-spawning

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