Last updated on 27 October 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
  • TAC is set in line or below the scientific advice.
  • Fisher’s compliance is high.
  • Reproductive biomass shows an increase trend since the mid-1990s to a stable level.
Weaknesses
  • There are no reference points defined.
  • Uncertainty associated to the assessment.

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

≥ 6

Future Health:

≥ 8


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. Please provide links to publicly available information on this fishery via the “Feedback” tab.
2. 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.

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN

1. This profile is not currently at the top of our priority list for updates, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be updated. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of non-prioritized fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at http://www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries-information.
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
Irish Sea EU Ireland Single boat bottom otter trawls
Trammel nets
United Kingdom Beam trawls
Gillnets and entangling nets
Single boat bottom otter trawls

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 31 October 2013

Strengths
  • TAC is set in line or below the scientific advice.
  • Fisher’s compliance is high.
  • Reproductive biomass shows an increase trend since the mid-1990s to a stable level.
Weaknesses
  • There are no reference points defined.
  • Uncertainty associated to the assessment.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 28 October 2016

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. Please provide links to publicly available information on this fishery via the “Feedback” tab.
2. 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.

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain

1. This profile is not currently at the top of our priority list for updates, and we can’t at this time provide an accurate prediction of when it will be updated. To speed up an evaluation of the sustainability status of non-prioritized fisheries we have initiated a program whereby industry can directly contract SFP-approved analysts to develop a FishSource profile on a fishery. More information on this External Contributor Program is available at http://www.sustainablefish.org/fisheries-information.
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 31 October 2013

Up to 2010 ICES carried out an assessment using landings-at-age data. The benchmark in 2011 investigated several assessment methods to explore options for incorporating a short time-series of discard observations into the assessment. None of the approaches examined proved to be entirely satisfactory. In 2011, WKFLAT evaluated an assessment model that includes discard data since 2004 and it was decided to assess reproductive biomass (SSB) and fishing mortality trends. Trends analysis are based on Aarts and Poos assessment model using commercial catches and three survey indices, fixed maturity ogive and constant natural mortality. However, this model continues to have difficulty in interpreting the data, although convergence properties have improved compared to last year’s assessment, and could not be used as a basis for predicting future catch options. Discard information from Northern Irish and Irish Nephrops fleets became available for the first time this year, enabling improved discard estimates for the most recent years (2010–2012). No reliable forecast can be presented for this stock, because the assessment is only indicative of trends and the absolute level of stock size is uncertain (ICES, 2013a, b).

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 31 October 2013

For data-limited stocks for which an abundance index is available, ICES uses as a harvest control rule an index-adjusted status quo catch. For this stock the biomass is estimated to have increased by 1% between the periods 2008–2010 (average of the three years) and 2011–2012 (average of the two years). This implies an increase in catches of at most 1% in relation to average catches of the last three years, corresponding to catches in 2014 of no more than 1,827 tons. If discard rates do not change from the average of the last three years (2010–2012), this implies landings in 2014 of no more than 497 tons. Considering that recent fishing mortality is considered to be very low, no additional precautionary reduction is needed (ICES, 2013a).

Reference Points

Last updated on 31 Oct 2013

No reference points are defined.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 31 October 2013

The average of the stock size indicator in the last two years (2011–2012) is 1% higher than the average of the three previous years (2008–2010) (ICES, 2013a). The overall state of the stock is consistently estimated to have low fishing mortality and high spawning biomass. Therefore the stock is considered to be within safe biological limits (ICES, 2013b).

Trends

Last updated on 31 Oct 2013

Reproductive biomass (SSB) trends show an increase in stock size since the mid-1990s to a stable level. Fishery-independent estimates of plaice SSB from the annual egg production method (AEPM) surveys increased from 9,000 tons in 1995 to 14,000–15,000 tons since 2006. The recent fishing mortality is likely to be very low as the estimates of total catch (landings and discards) since 2006.

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 31 October 2013

Management of plaice in Division VIIa is by TAC and there is a minimum landing size (MLS) of 27 cm (ICES, 2013b) and a minimum mesh sizes (ICES, 2013a). TAC has been set in line or below the advice, except in 2013 when ICES’s advices considered landings component only.

The TAC in 2012 was 1,627 tons and the working group estimate of landings in 2012 was 496 tons, which is a 16% decrease in landings comparable to 2011 and only 30% of the TAC in 2012 (ICES, 2013b).

Recovery Plans

Last updated on 31 Oct 2013

Not applicable.

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 31 October 2013

A very high proportion of the catch is discarded indicating a mismatch between the minimum landing size and the mesh size of the gear being used. In 2012, for a total catch of 1,648 tons was estimated 30% of landings and 70% of discards. Measures, such as the introduction of grids to Nephrops trawlers, which reduce discarding (a potential 75% drop in fish bycatch) will result in increased future yield potentials.

The landings of plaice are mainly split between beam trawlers (54%; primarily Belgian vessels then Irish vessels) targeting sole, and otter trawlers (39%;UK and Irish vessels) (ICES, 2013b). The TAC is not a constraint; landings have been consistently below the TAC.

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 31 October 2013

There is no specific information available on the impact of this fishery on Protected, Endangered and Threatened species.

Other Species

Last updated on 31 October 2013

The beam trawling fishery has important bycatch of plaice, rays, brill, turbot and anglerfish. However, in 2009, effort (hours fished) by the UK beam trawl fleet fell to the lowest observed level. A fleet of vessels primarily from Ireland and Northern Ireland take part in a targeted Nephrops taking substantial bycatch of whiting, most of which is discarded. Some inshore shrimp beam trawlers occasionally switch to flatfish when shrimp become temporarily unavailable. Other gear types employed in the Irish Sea to catch demersal species are gillnets and tanglenets, notably by inshore boats targeting cod, bass, grey mullet, sole and plaice (ICES, 2013c).

HABITAT

Last updated on 31 October 2013

A proportion of the plaice catch is caught by beam trawl fisheries. Beam trawling, especially when using chain-mat gear, is known to have a significant impact on the benthic communities, although less so on soft substrates and in areas which have been historically exploited by this fishing method (ICES, 2013a).

Plaice are preyed upon and consume a variety of species through their life history. Among other prey items, plaice typically consume high proportions of polychaetes and molluscs (ICES, 2013c).

Marine Reserves

Last updated on 31 Oct 2013

In 2000, the cod spawning closure covered the western and eastern Irish Sea. Since then, the closure has been mainly in the western part, whereas the majority of the plaice fishery has taken place in the eastern part of the Irish Sea (ICES, 2013a).

The current proposals for Marine Conservation Zones in Ireland include the closure of areas (Nephrops grounds) to benthic fishing (Cappell et al., 2012). This could result in implications for the plaice fishery.

FishSource Scores

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

No specific management objectives are known to ICES. However, there is TAC, minimum mesh sizes and minimum landing size in place.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

TAC has been set in line or below the advice, except in 2013 when ICES’s advices considered landings component only.

As calculated for 2012 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Estimated landings is 0.910 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 1.63 ('000 t) .

The underlying Estimated landings/Set TAC for this index is 55.9%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

SSB trends show an increase in stock size since the mid-1990s to a stable level.

As calculated for 2013 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Total effort (hours fished) in beam trawl and otter trawl fleets has declined to the lowest level since 1979.

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. ICES TAC advice for 2013 considered landings component only, so score #2 was determined qualitatively.
  2. There are no biomass and fishing reference points defined for this stock, so score #1, #4 and #5 were also determined qualitatively.
  3. Fishing effort presented above is expressed as harvest rate and abundance as relative biomass indice (ICES, 2013a).

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Cappell, R., Nimmo, F. Rooney, L., 2012. The value of Irish Sea Marine Conservation Zones to the Northern Irish fishing industry. Poseidon Report to the Seafish Northern Ireland Advisory Committee. 57pp http://www.seafish.org/media/Publications/Poseidon_NI_MCZ_valuation_final_report_August_2012__2_.pdf
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. ICES, 2012a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 5: Celtic Seas and West of Scotland 5.4.7 Ecoregion: Celtic Seas and West of Scotland. Stock: Plaice in Division VIIa (Irish Sea). Advice summary for 2013, 8 pp.http://www.ices.dk/committe/acom/comwork/report/2012/2012/ple-iris.pdf
  5. ICES, 2013a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 5. Celtic Sea and West of Scotland; 5.4.23 Plaice in Division VIIa (Irish Sea). Advice for 2014, 7 pp. http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2013/2013/ple-iris.pdf
  6. ICES, 2013b. Report of the Working Group for Celtic Seas Ecoregion (WGCSE), 8–17 May 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:12. 6.7 Plaice in Division VIIa (Irish Sea):599-648http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2013/WGCSE/WGCSE_DRAFT_2013.pdf
  7. ICES, 2013c. Report of the Working Group for Celtic Seas Ecoregion (WGCSE), 8–17 May 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:12 - Stock Annexeshttp://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Expert%20Group%20Report/acom/2013/WGCSE/Annex_2_StockAnnexes_2013.pdf
  8. 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
  9. 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 157:447–462 http://www.rug.nl/research/marine-benthic-ecology-and-evolution/publications/_pdf/2010/2010-wasmarbiol.pdf
References

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    European plaice - Irish Sea

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