ICES advice now based on catches

ICES advice is now based on actual catches, instead of what is landed. Credit: Valerie Craig/Marine Photobank ICES advice is now based on actual catches, instead of what is landed. Credit: Valerie Craig/Marine Photobank

For its 2014 advice on fish stocks, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has used data on the amount of fish caught at sea, instead of what is landed.

This advice is based on the compilation of relevant data and analysis by experts from ICES member countries. The data originates from sampling of fisheries and from research surveys, and catch advice will be provided on all fish stocks, where sufficient data is available. However, ICES says that this will not be possible in cases where the discard amounts are not known or cannot be reliably estimated.

“Managing fisheries based on what is caught - rather than what is landed - makes a biological difference. In most cases, fish don’t survive after being caught, whether they are brought to land or discarded at sea, and there is no difference biologically between those caught for commerce and those caught for recreation,” explains Poul Degnbol, Head of ICES Advisory Programme. “Advice based on catches will also be more relevant for the current and future political process, as decision-makers have shifted focus regarding fish stocks from commercial landings to actual catches.”

One of the highlights of ICES’ recently released advice on Baltic Sea fish stocks is that fishing pressure on the Eastern Baltic Sea cod stock has substantially decreased, resulting in an increase in adult cod stock abundance and the highest production of offspring in the last 20 years.

ICES’ most recent advice is available on the ICES website.

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