Rebuilding depleted Baltic fish stocks lessons learned

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1 Rebuilding Depleted Fish Stocks - Biology, Ecology, Social Science and Management Strategies 3 6 November 2009 Warnemünde/Rostock, Germany Rebuilding depleted Baltic fish stocks lessons learned Robert Aps, University of Tartu, Estonian Marine Institute Hans Lassen, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

2 Outline IBSFC and ICES scientific advice IBSFC strategies and plans Implementation: Cod, herring, sprat and salmon Recent developments Conclusions

3 IBSFC International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC) responsible for management of Baltic fishery resources With the enlargement of the EU in 2004 EC and Russia remained as members and IBSFC ceased on 1 January 2007 To-day decisions on the TAC and their allocation are now taken during bilateral negotiations between the EU and Russia formalized in a fisheries agreement signed in 2009

4 IBSFC high standard IBSFC - ecological sustainability as a basic premise for the economic and social future of Baltic fisheries and fishing the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) considered as a target to achieve sustainability

5 IBSFC businnes as usual IBSFC Contracting Parties, as maximizers of economic returns, attempted to ensure that a greater common value was allocated to them Systematically set the TACs for all unit stocks higher than the sustainable levels of exploitation

6 IBSFC - decision-overfishing Decision-overfishing, as an element of regulatory overfishing, takes place when, e.g. negotiated TACs are set in excess of sustainable levels of exploitation (Eagle and Thompson, 2003) Decision-overfishing reflects the relative importance attributed by negotiating parties to the interests of different groups of fishers in their industries Decision-overfishing may be seen as a serious management failure of the IBSFC to secure sustainable use of the Baltic fish resources.

7 ICES scientific advice IBSFC requested scientific advice on an ecosystem approach Advice taking into account the productivity of the Baltic ecosystem was formulated as advice under a precautionary approach to fisheries management ICES suggested appropriate biological reference points to ensure that fishing took place within safe biological limits

8 ICES scientific advice The ICES scientific advice is focused on maintaining the reproductive capacity of a stock and on keeping the spawning stock above an appropriate reference point (Bpa) While the MSY model in principle advises on the best option in the form of a set of fishing mortalities the precautionary approach defines upper boundaries on the fishing mortality (Fpa) and lower boundaries on the spawning stock biomass (Bpa)

9 Decision models for MSY and Precautionary Approach Maximum Sustainable Yield Precautionary Approach Estimate F Estimate SSB No F No SSB =F MSYY >B pa Adjust F to F MSY Continue at Yes Increase SSB reduce F below F pa F = F pa Yes F = F MSY

10 MSY & MEY The World Bank, 2008

11 IBSFC - strategies and plans 1) Long-Term Management Strategy for Cod Stocks in the Baltic Sea (1999) 2) Recovery Plan for Baltic cod (2001) 3) Long-Term Management Strategy for the Sprat Stock in the Baltic Sea (2000) 4) Long-term objectives and strategies for the management of Baltic herring ( )

12 IBSFC - strategies and plans Resolution on management objectives for Baltic salmon Resolution concerning a moratorium on salmon fishing in all rivers and river mouths with wild salmon stocks Baltic Salmon Action Plan - IBFSC's Extraordinary Session in February 1997, and according to this Action Plan, the long-term objectives (to 2010)

13 Recent developments EU Council regulation 1098/2007 established the procedure for setting the TACs for Eastern Baltic cod Management plan for the Baltic pelagic stocks - evaluated by ICES in spring of 2009 This plan includes target fishing mortality for herring stocks and the sprat stock, and a rule for restricted change of TAC from one year to the next Finally low SSB is triggering remedy action

14 Eastern cod: Long-term management plan (1999) F=0.6 Cod recovery plan (2001) F=0.55 EU Council regulation 1098/2007 F=0.3

15 Agreed TAC=TAC vs Recommended TAC=tac Indicator TAC/tac Actual catch=c vs Recommended catch=c Indicator C/c Against background of the depleted cod stock the TACs were set in excess of the recommended catches, if these were provided in the advice (1.0 < TAC/tac < 1.74). With few exceptions, actual catches also exceeded advice (0.92 < C/tac < 1.56)

16 Central Baltic herring F(pa)=0.19 Management plan Baltic pelagics F(pa)=0.22

17 Agreed TAC=TAC vs Recommended TAC=tac Indicator TAC/tac Actual catch=c vs Recommended catch=c Indicator C/c Under conditions of a continuous decline in SSB, negotiations produced decisions in excess of the advice (0.98 < TAC/tac < 2.55). Actual catch exceeded recommended catches for the whole period, with the exception of 1991, 2003, and 2004 (0.73 < C/tac < 1.83)

18 Long-Term Management Strategy for the Sprat Stock F(pa)=0.4

19 Agreed TAC=TAC vs Recommended TAC=tac Indicator TAC/tac Actual catch=c vs Recommended catch=c Indicator C/c ICES advice for sprat was incomplete or missing in the years 1986, 1987, 1993, 1994, and In other years, the set TAC systematically exceeded recommended catches (0.88 < TAC/tac < 2.44) However, the actual catch never exceeded the TAC and exceeded the recommended catch by a smaller amount (0.51 < C/tac < 1.90)

20 Management plan for the Baltic pelagic stocks (ICES 2009) Target Fishing mortality [A] (year -1 ) Annual TAC variation [B] (± percentage) Spawningstock biomass trigger [C] ( 000 t) Western Baltic herring (*) Central Baltic herring Gulf of Riga herring Sprat < None B lim ( 000 t) 110 (***) When SSB<B lim F when B lim <SSB y <[C] F = 0 F = 0 F = 0 F = 0 Not Applicable 0.22*[(SSB y - 385)/( )] 0.26*[(SSB y - 40)/(60 40)] 0.35*[(SSB y - 40)/(60 40)] 0.40*[(SSB y - 200)/( )]

21 Baltic Salmon Action Plan Production of wild salmon should be stimulated gradually, to attain for each salmon river by 2010 a natural production of wild Baltic salmon of at least 50% of the best estimated potential within safe genetic limits, in order to achieve a better balance between wild and reared salmon

22 Agreed TAC=TAC vs Recommended TAC=tac Indicator TAC/tac Actual catch=c vs Recommended catch=c Indicator C/c Science-based advice for salmon was incomplete or missing from 1988 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1997 The TAC set by the IBSFC exceeded recommended catches from 1988 to 2004 (1.21 < TAC/tac < 1.32), and the same situation applied to actual catches in 1992 and 1994 (1.05 < C/tac < 1.43)

23 Baltic Salmon Action Plan moderate success Status of the Baltic wild salmon in the Gulf of Bothnia and the Main Basin has improved remarkably Combined result of measures taken by IBSFC (inter alia low TACs) and measures taken by the coastal states (closed periods) and a lowered M74 mortality However, status of the wild stocks in the Gulf of Finland has not improved significantly

24 Baltic Salmon Action Plan moderate success The goal was set to achieve at least 50% wild salmon production of the potential in each river by 2010 This goal is expected to be reached in six rivers, while it is expected that in another five rivers it will be reached by 2015 That means that the long-term objective of 2010 was most probably set too optimistically from a biological point of view

25 Conclusions Shortly after 1990 it was obvious that the state of the Baltic fish stocks were in bad shape and that the fisheries were not under satisfactory control IBSFC reacted by a number of resolutions that aimed at getting the fisheries under control, reduce fishing mortality, improve selectivity (for cod) and through such measures to achieve rebuilding of depleted fish stocks

26 Conclusions Despite insufficient political will to ensure compliance IBSFC achieved some success for salmon in the Baltic Main Basin and Bothnian Bay Herring TACs have been reduced so that the fishery was under control For cod EU continued work of IBSFC and has achieved a reduction of fishing mortality in recent years only with the first signs of a stock recovery

27 Conclusions Results of analysis suggest implementation of rebuilding depleted Baltic fish stocks as a major problem The lesson: it is not the management structure that should be in focus but the political will to achieve the targets

28 Acknowledgements This study was supported by the Estonian target financing program SF s08, and by the funding provided by the European Commission Research Directorates through the EU FP7 project JAKFISH Judgment and Knowledge in Fisheries including Stakeholders

29 Thank you for your attention!

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