Summary

IDENTIFICATION

Last updated on 16 July 2017

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Clupea harengus

SPECIES NAME(S)

Atlantic herring

COMMON NAMES

Atlantic herring

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) is widely distributed in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic. Within the Northeast Atlantic, they are distributed from the northern Bay of Biscay to Greenland, and east into the Barents Sea.

Stock distribution is uncertain for Atlantic herring in this area.  Many local populations with differing growth rates share similar habitats and may mix during certain times of the year.   There is some evidence that western Baltic spring-spawning herring (Division 3a and subdivisions 22–24) and central Baltic herring (subdivisions 25–29 and 32, excluding Gulf of Riga herring) are mixing in subdivisions 24 (ICES 2017). Also a large portion of the herring in this area are North Sea autumn spawners(NSAS)(ICES 2017) which are considered elsewhere.

This report covers western Baltic spring spawning herring (WBSS) in subdivisions 20–24.


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Stock is well managed with precautionary reference points and control rules in place to prevent extensive overexploitation.
  • Despite an SSB low in 2011 and very poor recruitment, stock has not declined below Blim; suggesting management is achieving some of its goals.
  • Gear used tends to have minimal bottom impacts and the fishery has little bycatch or discards.
  • There is extensive scientific research and monitoring of this stock; both fishery dependent and independent.
Weaknesses
  • Stock is in a low productivity state, with poor recruitment
  • F is above FMSY and Stock is between BMSYtrigger and Blim
  • Even fishing at the advised level, stock is not expected above MSY Btrigger​ until after 2019.

SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

10

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 8

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

7.1

Future Health:

6.9


RECOMMENDATIONS

CATCHERS & REGULATORS

1. 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.
2. 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

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. 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.
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

  • SPPO Baltic herring and sprats:

    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
Baltic Sea southwestern European Union, Division 3a, Sub-divisions 22-24 Denmark Midwater trawls
Purse seines
Stationary uncovered pound nets
Germany Midwater trawls
Sweden Midwater trawls
Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 3 July 2017

Strengths
  • Stock is well managed with precautionary reference points and control rules in place to prevent extensive overexploitation.
  • Despite an SSB low in 2011 and very poor recruitment, stock has not declined below Blim; suggesting management is achieving some of its goals.
  • Gear used tends to have minimal bottom impacts and the fishery has little bycatch or discards.
  • There is extensive scientific research and monitoring of this stock; both fishery dependent and independent.
Weaknesses
  • Stock is in a low productivity state, with poor recruitment
  • F is above FMSY and Stock is between BMSYtrigger and Blim
  • Even fishing at the advised level, stock is not expected above MSY Btrigger​ until after 2019.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 6 February 2017

Improvement Recommendations to Catchers & Regulators

1. 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.
2. 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

1. Encourage your supply chain to start a fishery improvement project. 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.
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 2 July 2017

Currently an age-structed model; tuned to two acoustic, two bottom trawl, and a larval index, is used to assess herring in this area.  Natural mortality is assumed to be 0.2 with the exception of age one and two herring, which have a natural mortality due to predation of 0.3 and 0.5 respectively (ICES 2016). This departure from the assumed 0.2 rate is the average 1977–1995 from the Baltic MSVPA predation mortality.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 3 July 2017

The model suffers from a persistent retrospective bias that under estimates mortality and over estimates SSB in the terminal year.  The most recent assessment update (2017) saw a large change in the models output with regards to stock status relative to reference points. This change is due to low fishery independent indices and model instability.  This large change will be a topic of investigation during the next bench mark assessment in 2018(ICES 2017)(ICES 2017).

REFERENCE POINTS

Last updated on 3 July 2017

Current reference points are MSY based and include; Blim = 90,000 t, a MSY Btrigger​ = 110,000t  and FMSY = 0.32 as a target fishing mortality rate. There is  a control rule which reduces the catch as the stock approaches Blim (ICES 2015)(ICES 2016)(ICES 2017)(ICES 2017).

It should be noted that the difference between Blim and MSY Btrigger​ is small, only 20,000 t, and well within the current model’s uncertainty given the stability issues and the retrospective pattern

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 3 July 2017

Current SSB is between MSY Btrigger​ and Blim (ICES 2017). F is assessed to be higher than FMSY. Recruitment has been poor, with 2015 and 2016 the lowest recruitment on record. Catch in 2016 was approximately 51,000 t. Advice from ICES indicates that a drop in the advised catch by >40% is needed in 2018 (ICES 2017).

TRENDS

Last updated on 3 July 2017

Stock is in a low productivity state with declines in recruitment and the fishery independent indices. Currently the stock seems to be rebounding, at least partially, from a low in SSB in 2011. Stock is not expected above MSY Btrigger​ until after 2019. Overall fishing mortality has increased from 2014 and is now above FMSY levels (ICES 2017).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGERS' DECISIONS

Last updated on 3 July 2017

Advice is given by ICES as total removals at the stock level.  Managers set quotas, however, based on the area. As both NSAS and WBSS components are both present in the area during the year. Overall area removals are based on the best information of the mixing rate and the fleets which operate in the area. A complicated distribution of catch by fleet is in place to regulate removals on NSAS and WBSS during the fishing year (European Commission 2016)(ICES 2016)(ICES 2017)(ICES 2017). Combined removals for NSAS and WBSS have been in line with the scientific advice for these two stocks. Managers have enacted precautionary reference points in line with the scientific advice (ICES 2017)(ICES 2017).

RECOVERY PLANS

Last updated on 3 July 2017

A control rule is in place which reduces F below MSY Btrigger​ and sets the F to zero below Blim (European Commission 2016)(ICES 2015)(ICES 2016)(ICES 2017)(ICES 2017).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 2 July 2017

Harvesters comply with regulations; the area quota is closely monitored and compliance hasn’t been raised as an issue in any of the stock assessment reports. Discards are thought to be small (ICES 2017).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

ETP SPECIES

Last updated on 29 June 2017

Herring is an important prey species for both seabirds and sea mammals (ICES, 2008c). There is little information on bycatches of mega-fauna by herring fleets (ICES, 2008c) but pelagic trawling for herring in the North Sea, Kattegat and Skagerrak has opportunistically recorded bycatch of long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melaena and is suspected to catch other small cetaceans but at low rates (SFGEN, 2002). Bycatch of harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena has been recorded in gillnets and fish traps for herring in the Baltic (SFGEN, 2002) and it is an endangered species in the region, as is harbour seal Phoca vitulina (HELCOM, 2009a). It is suspected that porpoise bycatch in fisheries may reach 0.5-0.8% of the Southwestern Baltic porpoise populations and 1.2% of populations in inner Danish waters and in the Kiel and Mecklenburg Bays, although these may well be underestimates and porpoise bycatch in Baltic fisheries may be too high to sustain the population (ICES, 2008e).

OTHER TARGET AND BYCATCH SPECIES

Last updated on 29 June 2017

Western Baltic spring-spawning herring catches in Division IIIa are taken together with North Sea autumn-spawning herring (ICES, 2009b) but the herring human consumption fishery has little other bycatch (ICES, 2008c). Industrial fisheries which take herring as bycatch take a wider range of species (ICES, 2008c).

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 June 2017

Herring from this stock are migratory, travelling to the more saline waters of Division IIIa and IVa to feed (ICES, 2009b) in the summer and then returning to the southern Kattegat and the sound to overwinter before moving to spawning areas on the German Baltic coast (ICES, 2008a).

There are no discard or by-catch issues in the fishery and the gears used are assumed to have no direct effects on the benthic ecosystem (ICES, 2008c). Herring spawning and nursery areas are typically located in-shore and as such are particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic influences including the extraction of sand and gravel from the sea-bed (ICES, 2008c).

MARINE RESERVES

Last updated on 29 June 2017

Twenty-three Baltic Sea Protected Areas have been declared within WBSS herring’s distribution area, as sea mammal and seabird habitats (e.g. waters around Læsø and Hesselø), geographic features (Læsø Trindel/ Tønneberg Bank/ Kummel Bank) fish nursery areas (waters around Saltholm) or macrophyte fields (Wismar Bight/ Salzhaff area) and with varying protection statuses (HELCOM, 2009b). Falsterbo Peninsula with Måkläppen (in Swedish waters) and Stavns Fjord and adjacent waters (Denmark) are considered important herring spawning grounds besides being seabird and harbour seal habitats (HELCOM, 2009b).

Furthermore, an area within Subdivision 24 is closed to all active gear at any time of the year (EC, 2005).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 16 July 2017

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 data.

This measures the F at low biomass as a percentage of the F management target.

The F at low biomass is 0.00 (from management plan). The F management target is 0.320 .

The underlying F at low biomass/F management target for this index is 0.00%.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

While catch and advised quotas are at the stock level, managers set quotas based on area; which can be a mixture of many stocks. Thus a qualitative score was used. Managers have set area quotas in line with advice and use stock status in determining quotas and limiting catch.

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Harvesters comply with set limits. Quota overages are not indicated as a problem for this fishery.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2017 data.

This measures the SSB as a percentage of the MSY Btrigger.

The SSB is 101 ('000 t). The MSY Btrigger is 110 ('000 t) .

The underlying SSB/MSY Btrigger for this index is 92.2%.

As calculated for 2016 data.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.410 . The F management target is 0.320 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 128%.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses for all fisheries operating within this stock or assessment unit. If there are more than on risk level noted, individual fisheries have different levels. Click on the "Select Scores" drop-down list for your fisheries of interest.

No data available for recruitment
DATA NOTES

Advice is based on the stock level, while managers set quotas based on area; which includes both NSAS and WBSS (ICES 2017).  Because of this Scores 2 and 3 were determined qualitatively.

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

SPPO Baltic herring and sprats

STATUS

Withdrawn on 4 September 2009

SCORES

Certification Type:

Sources

Credits

Andrews, J., Löwenberg, U., Nichols, J., 2015. Public Certification Report for Western Baltic Spring Spawning Herring Fishery. Intertek Fisheries Certification (IFC), April 2015. 158pp https://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/fisheries-in-the-program/certified/north-east-atlantic/western-baltic-spring-spawning-herring/assessment-downloads-1/20150420_PCR_HER128.pdf

COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) No 44/2012 of 17 January 2012 fixing for 2012 the fishing opportunities available in EU waters and, to EU vessels, in certain non- EU waters for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are subject to international negotiations or agreements http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:025:0055:0147:EN:PDF

EC 1256/2011, Council Regulation (EU) No 1256/2011 of 30 November 2011 fixing for 2012 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks applicable in the Baltic Sea and amending Regulation (EU) No 1124/2010 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:320:0003:0011:EN:PDF

ICES, 2011a. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, Book 6: The North Sea 6.4.15 Ecoregion: North Sea. Stock: Herring in Division IIIa and Subdivisions 22–24 (Western Baltic spring spawners). Advice summary for 2012, 9 p.http://www.ices.dk/committe/acom/comwork/report/2011/2011/her-3a22.pdf

ICES, 2011b. Report of the Herring Assessment Working Group for the area South of 62 deg N (HAWG), 16 - 24 March 2011, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2011\ACOM:06. 763 p. http://www.ices.dk/reports/ACOM/2011/HAWG/HAWG%20Report%202011.pdf

Appended content

References

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