New ICES approach to data

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has released annual advice on the status of fish stocks and options for sustainable fisheries in 2013.

For the first time, ICES has provided quantitative advice on 68 data-limited stocks in addition to the almost 80 stocks ICES has annually provided catch advice in the last years

In 2010, ICES provided advice for 78 individual fish stocks, such as cod, plaice and sole. This year ICES has, for the first time, expanded its scope to include quantitative advice on data-limited fish stocks, such as flounder, brill and pollack.

The new method developed by ICES, for providing operational advice on data-limited stocks, should help to ensure that fisheries on these stocks can be conducted sustainably.

ICES head of advisory programme, Poul Degnbol, states: “In many situations it is possible to judge the status of a fish stock and to quantify the upper limits of sustainable fishing quotas on the basis of biological information regarding the sensitivity of these species to fisheries and trends in their abundance as observed from research vessels. ICES considers that providing upper limits to fishing based on this newly developed method will be the best basis for responsible decisions on fishing opportunities”.

To help understand the new advice for the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea fish stocks published by ICES in May and June, Seafish has produced a top-line summary document of the new scientific assessments.

This shows the scientific status of 114 fish stocks in June 2012 and where each stock sits in relation to maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the precautionary approach and any management plan, when considering fishing mortality and spawning stock biomass. It also references the agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2012 compared with the ICES advice on a TAC for 2013. A very simple statement has also been included on the status of the spawning stock biomass in 2012 in comparison with 2011.

The two summaries can be found at:

http://www.seafish.org/media/publications/SeafishSummaryofICESadvice_201206.pdf

http://www.seafish.org/media/publications/SeafishSummary_June2012ICESadvice_Discards.pdf

ICES advice is published on the ICES website: http://www.ices.dk/advice/icesadvice.asp

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