Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Handlines

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1 Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Handlines Northeast Atlantic Mackerel, Handlines Content last updated 3rd Apr 2017 Stock: Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in subareas 1 7 and 14, and in divisions 8.a e and 9.a Management: North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), Coastal States, EU- Norway Overview Northeast Atlantic (NEA) mackerel (Scomber scombrus) is a widely distributed pelagic stock that spends most of its time in mid-water travelling in large dense, shoals, often at great speed and making very long migrations. This species is a voracious, opportunistic feeder and feeds mainly on plankton, but also on some small pelagic fish. Although northeast Atlantic mackerel is assessed as a single unit, the stock is believed to consist of three spawning components: Western, Southern, and North Sea. The spawning areas of mackerel are widely spread. Mackerel spawning in the southern and western areas migrate to feed in the Nordic seas and the North Sea during the second half of the year, after spawning. Catch and survey data from recent years indicate that the stock has expanded to the north west during spawning and the summer feeding migration. This change in spatial distribution may result from changes in food availability, increased water temperature and/or increased stock size. There is relatively little bycatch of non-target species in the mackerel fishery, which tends to operate with pelagic otter trawl gear, purse-seine nets and handlines. Stock Status less risk more risk The status of the Northeast Atlantic Mackerel stock has been scored a moderate risk. This is because the most recent estimate of spawning stock biomass is above precautionary levels (above Bpa) but the most recent estimate of fishing mortality is above the target reference point (FMSY) and above precautionary levels (Fpa), which indicates increased risk. Management less risk more risk The management of Northeast Atlantic mackerel has been scored a moderate risk. This is because management decisions are informed by an annual analytical stock assessment but, catches of Northeast Atlantic mackerel have been above the advised catch since 2007 and the TAC has not been agreed by all countries participating in the fishery since This may compromise harvest objectives. The mackerel fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic are managed under three arrangements covering three areas: (1) an arrangement amongst Coastal States (Norway, EU, Iceland and the Faroe Islands) for the waters to the west of the British Isles, Ireland, Iceland and Norway; (2) the bilateral cooperation between Norway and the EU for the North Sea component of the stock; and (3) the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) agreement for international waters. Iceland, Russia and Greenland have a substantial catch from this stock and are currently outside the coastal states arrangements. Bycatch less risk more risk

2 The bycatch in the Northeast Atlantic mackerel handline fishery has been scored a low risk. This is because bycatch levels in the handline fishery are low (< 15% of catch weight) and bycatch of vulnerable species is possible but very rare. Habitat less risk more risk The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a very low risk. This is because handlines do not interact with seabed habitat, and therefore habitat abrasion and penetration is unlikely. There is a small chance that the gear will snag on biogenic structures. Outlook Type Current Risk Status Outlook Reason Stock Moderate Improving The status of the stock is likely to remain stable in the future. An increasing trend in spawning stock biomass and an expansion of the area of distribution have been noticed since Recruitment of young fish has improved over recent years. Management Moderate Improving The management of the stock is likely to improve in the future. Although management decisions are based on fishery-independent data that serve as input for an analytical assessment there has been no international agreement covering the whole stock since There is a management strategy which is subject to continuing development for a part of the fishery on the stock, and discussions are ongoing for accession of most parties to a management agreement. Bycatch Low Stable The bycatch impact of the handline fishery is likely to remain stable in the future. Bycatch levels in the handline fishery are low. Habitat Low Stable The habitat impact of the handline fishery is likely to remain stable in the future. Handlines have limited interaction with the seabed and the habitat impact is negligible.

3 Stock Status Details less risk more risk Time-trends The Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) is estimated to have increased since the early 2000s and has been inside precautionary levels (above Bpa) since The Fishing Mortality (F) has been declining since the mid-2000s, but remains above F pa (and F msy ) (ICES 2016). Figure 1. Summary of stock assessment. The shaded catches prior to 2000 are the years where considerable underreporting that is suspected to have taken place. The shaded recruitment values for 2014 and 2015 are predicted. The black dotted lines represent the 95% confidence intervals (ICES 2016) Stock structure and recruitment Although Northeast Atlantic mackerel is assessed as a single unit, the stock is believed to consist of three spawning components: Western, Southern and North Sea. Recruitment of young fish is at age 0. There has been a succession of large year classes since the early 2000s (2002, 2006, 2011, and 2014) and all year classes since 2005 (except for the 2013 year class) are estimated to be above average. The distribution of juvenile mackerel is very patchy with well-defined nursery areas such as around Cornwall. Data gaps and research priorities The estimates of spawning stock biomass from the triennial egg survey are the main fishery-independent data used in the assessment. Annual, age disaggregated abundance data are obtained by the annual ecosystem surveys in the Nordic Seas in July-August (IESSNS) but the time-series is relatively short ( ). Currently these surveys are giving contradictory signals; the IESSNS survey is indicating an increase in abundance, whilst the egg survey data indicates a decrease in spawning stock biomass. As a result of this discrepancy the surveys have been given less weight than the catch information in this year s assessment. A new and promising radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging project on northeast Atlantic mackerel was initiated in 2011, which could improve estimates of abundance. Mackerel is mainly exploited in a directed fishery for human consumption. This fishery tends to target bigger fish and there is evidence of discarding of smaller, less marketable fish in some fisheries. References ICES Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in subareas 1 7 and 14, and in divisions 8.a e and 9.a (Northeast Atlantic) ICES Advice Book 9 Section 3.39

4 Management Details less risk more risk TAC Information Catch 2015 (t) Advised Catch 2016 (t) Agreed TAC 2016 (t) Advised Catch 2017 (t) < 774, < 944,000 Advised and agreed catches No international TAC involving all parties participating in the fishery, was agreed for 2016; the above Agreed TAC 2016 relates to the sum of unilateral quotas of the fisheries participants; EU, Norway Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. A similar situation is expected in 2017 where the total catch is expected to be 1,020,996 t made up of 861,000 t from EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands under the Coastal States Arrangement and the remaining allowance of 159,275 t from other parties such as Iceland and Greenland. Although delegations from Iceland and Greenland attended the fisheries consultations, it was regretted that it was not possible to agree accession of these countries to the Coastal States Arrangement (EU, Norway, Faroes 2016). It should be noted that Iceland, Greenland and Russia caught a total of 328,000 t in 2015, which if similar quantities were caught in 2017, this catch added to the Coastal States Arrangement Catches would result in a total catch of around 1,119,000 t in Stock harvesting strategy The advised catch of < 944,000 t for 2017 relates to ICES advice under the ICES Maximum Sustainable Yield approach. ICES (2016) predict that if the catch corresponds to the expected catch of 1,020,996 t in 2017 consistent with the EU, Faroe Islands, and Norway long-term management strategy, Spawning Stock Biomass would remain within precautionary levels (above Bpa) in 2017 and 2018 with a decrease of 6% between these years, whilst fishing mortality is predicted to remain within precautionary levels (<Fpa), though above that associated with Maximum Sustainable Yield F MSY during If the catches in 2017 are 1,119,000 t (see above) the fishing mortality is expected to be above precautionary levels (>Fpa), in the increased risk category in Spawning Stock Biomass would be expected to remain above precautionary levels in with a decrease of 10% between these two years. ICES has advised on a range of harvest control rules for the stock to address a Coastal States request on the long term management plan for mackerel (ICES 2015). However, it was agreed by the Coastal States Arrangement parties to consider these evaluations further after the ICES benchmarking of this stock which is due to take place in early 2017 (EU, Norway, Faroes 2016). Surveillance and enforcement Surveillance activities to record compliance with national and international fishery control measures are primarily the responsibility of the competent fishery inspection authorities in each country. In addition, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), established in 2005, organises operational coordination of fisheries control and inspection activities by the Member States as well as cooperation with third countries and other Regional Fishery Management Organisations. Although surveillance activities for fisheries targeting Northeast mackerel in EU waters are now considered effective, there is uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of surveillance activities in some fisheries operating in non-eu waters. In most cases, catch information comes from official logbook records. Other sources of information include catch recorded by processors. Some countries provide information on discards and slipped catch from observer programs, logbooks and compliance reports. The accuracy of logbooks from countries outside the EU has not been evaluated by ICES. Monitoring of logbook records is the responsibility of the national control and enforcement agencies. In Norway, the operations at sea are controlled by the Coast Guard and the Fisheries Directorate, while landings control is carried out by the sales organizations and the Fisheries Directorate. In addition to landings controls, the sales organisations and the Fisheries Directorate also perform checks on statistics. All vessels over 21 m in Norwegian waters are subject to satellite-based monitoring. In EU waters, this applies to vessels above 15 meters. Automatic positioning signals are sent to the Fisheries Directorate every hour. A number of national and international agreements to control the exploitation of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock are in place.

5 A number of national and international agreements to control the exploitation of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock are in place. Targeted fishing is prohibited in the North Sea with the purpose of protecting the North Sea stock component which has failed to recover from extremely heavy exploitation during the 1970s. The Cornwall box is an area off the southwest coast of England that is a known juvenile nursery area. It supported a very large fishery prior to its introduction in the early 1980s after which the only permitted fishing in this area is by handliners. Discarding is prohibited in Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. A landing obligation has come into force in 2015 for all EU vessels. Fisheries enforcement and control is an issue in international cooperation and in the trilateral cooperation between Norway, EU and the Faroe Islands. Consequently, a working group on fishery control issues has been in operation for several years to promote international cooperation. References EU, Norway, Faroes Agreed record of conclusions of fisheries consultations between the European Union, the Faroe Islands and Norway on the management of Northeast Atlantic mackerel for 2017 Clonakilty 19 th October 2016 EFCA. [ [Date accessed: 23-Dec-15] ICES EU, Norway, and the Faroe Islands request to ICES to evaluate a multi-annual management strategy for mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in the Northeast Atlantic. In Report of the ICES Mackerel (Scomber scombrus) in subareas 1 7 and 14, and in divisions 8.a e and 9.a (Northeast Atlantic) ICES Advice Book 9 Section 3.39

6 Bycatch Details less risk more risk Targeting and behaviour Handlining for mackerel is a well targeted fishing activity. Norway and England have handline fleets operating inshore in the Skagerrak (Norway) and around the coast of Cornwall (England), where other fishing methods are not permitted. Spain also has a large artisanal handline fleet as do France and Portugal. A small proportion of the total catch reported by Scotland (IVa and IVb) and Iceland (Va) is taken by a handline fleet. Evidence of bycatch risk The Norwegian handline fishery is relatively clean with no bycatch issues. Little information is available on the catches of protected, endangered or threatened (PET) species in the hook and line fishery, but in general the method is considered reasonably well targeted and unlikely to interact with these species. Impact on other trophic levels Bycatch levels in the handline fishery are likely to have minimal impacts on other trophic levels. Mitigation measures No mitigation measures have been established to reduce bycatch in the handline fishery given that bycatch levels are not considered to be a major concern by ICES. References ICES Report of the Working Group on Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE), 28 August 01 September 2014, ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ICES CM 2014/ACOM:15. Moody Marine. Norwegian NEA Mackerel Fishery: Final Certification Report. 2009

7 Habitat Details less risk more risk The habitat impact of the handline fishery for Northeast Atlantic mackerel is minimal. Handlines target mackeral inhabiting the pelagic zone of the water column and have limited interaction with the seabed. The footprint of the gear on habitat is limited, with only the weight on the handline having the potential to cause abrasion and penetration of the seabed. Mitigation measures No mitigation measures have been established to reduce the habitat impact of the handline fishery given that interactions between handlines and seabed habitat are infrequent and not considered to be a major issue by ICES. All content 2017 Seafish. Origin Way, Europarc, Grimsby, DN37 9TZ. This page created on 26th November 2017 at 06:54pm.

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