Science-based management of fish stocks and long-term sustainability

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1 Science-based management of fish stocks and long-term sustainability Jóhann Sigurjónsson, Director General Marine Research Institute, Iceland Seminar on the Role of Science and Technology in Responsible Fisheries Management Bremerhaven, 27 June 2013

2 Content of presentation The Marine Research Institute Requirements for a well-managed responsible fishery Fisheries research and long-term management of cod and other fish stocks off Iceland

3 The Role of the Marine Research Institute MRI is the principle organisation conducting research and providing scientific advice to the Icelandic government and industry on sustainable fishery Long-standing experience and record of success All major stocks also reviewed and advice scrutinized by the ICES The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

4 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea ICES Annual Science Conference Reykjavik September European and North American scientists

5 The Role of the Marine Research Institute Research on ocean and its ecosystem and living resources, mariculture Advice to authorities and industry on sustainable utilisation of ocean resources - Written into the law, minister has to consult! Dissimination of information on the values of the ocean and its sustainable utilisation Positions/Staff 160 Annual budget 18,0 M Parliament 1/2 Funds/Income 1/2

6 Requirements for a well-managed responsible fishery Biology of the resource - scientific knowledge - The marine ecosystem productivity and the sustainability of the fish stocks - responsibility of MRI Adopted harvest strategy (and harvest contol rule) with clear management objectives and acceptable risk levels, to secure - Sustainability of the resource - Long-term socio-economic benefits, jobs for communities and stable industry - MRI, Ministry and industry Rights-based access and management mechanism, setting TAC, control and enforcement - Policy makers, Ministry, Fisheries Directorate

7 Ocean Currents Basis for High Productivity E-Greenland Current (cold) E-Iceland Current (cold) ICELAND Gulf-Stream (warm)

8 Iceland: A century of harvest Fisheries still the backbone of the economy!! Capelin Herring Cod

9 Fish Stock Assessment and Annual Advice Fishery-independent methods - Surveys Fishery-dependent methods - Sample catches or landings Assesssment model Population size, dynamics, fishing rates and forecasts

10 Annual Stock Monitoring Surveys 68 Autumn BTS 67 Spring BTS (March) 66 Shrimp surveys Spawning survey 63 Lobster survey Measured = 1,720 thous. fish Age determined = 113 thous. fish

11 Iceland Haddock Year-classes and catches Make best use of each year-class - Strong year-class gives high catches in following years and reverse Recruitment Year-class Year-class Catch Year

12 Golden Redfish: Age composition in catch 1985 year-class 1990 year-class 1985 year-class A well managed fishery makes the best use of each and every year-class

13 Main management measures TAC s the catch quotas in tons Mesh size, gear Season length and timing Closed areas

14 Closed areas for protecion of juvenile S. marinus Closed all year long Oct-March - Open during night only Febr-15 April Open for trawling Closed for trawling June-Oct

15 Conservation of cold water corals Protected areas for juvenile fish such as redfish Marine Protected Areas SE Iceland

16

17 Iceland Cod Harvested for decades at high levels Still economically by far most important stock 20% Harvest Control Rule since 2007, approved by ICES Certified by IRF December 2010 TAC reduced to 130 thous.tons (by 30%) in 2007 Recommended catch 2013/ thous.tns Predicted catches in thous. tons

18 Cod: Catch and stock development Recruits 3yr olds 50% 40% Catch Rate Quota reductions % Average=180 recruits 2008, 2009 and 2011=near av = % 10% 0% Catch Rule Target 20% Árgangur Catches Decreasing Spawning stock biomass At low Increasing

19 Cod: Relative increase in stock size Higher proportion of old fish due to reduced catch rate yrs and older YEAR

20 Cod: Cautious approach gives strong stock and sustainable harvest Progress already evident - Exploitation rate reduced substantially in recent years from 40% to 20% - Stock size increasing - Better use of year-classes - After series of weak year-classes, 2008, 2009 and 2011 around long term average; 2012 rather strong Increased abundance of large females basis for improved long-term recruitment and increased catches TAC will gradually increase

21 Iceland fishing grounds: Status of stocks Well-managed/Current catch rate at appropriate level - Cod - Haddock - Saithe - Redfish - S.marinus - Ling - Tusk - Witch - Lemon sole - Plaice - Monkfish - Wolffish - Nephrops - Herring - local - International - Mackerel Relatively poor stock status Caution needed - Halibut - Dab - Greenland halibut - Redfish - S. mentella - Blue whiting Poor or relatively poor stock status due to natural ocean climate variability - Capelin - Shrimp - Scallops - Long-rough dab Addressed domestically Lack of international cooperation

22 Iceland fishing grounds: Status of stocks Well-managed/Current catch rate at appropriate level - Cod - Haddock - Saithe - Redfish - S.marinus - Ling - Tusk - Witch - Lemon sole - Plaice - Monkfish - Wolffish - Nephrops - Herring - local - International - Mackerel Relatively poor stock status Caution needed - Halibut - Dab - Greenland halibut - Redfish - S. mentella - Blue whiting Poor or relatively poor stock status due to natural ocean climate variability - Capelin - Shrimp - Scallops - Long-rough dab Addressed domestically Lack of international cooperation

23 To conclude Science-based management - Widely accepted in Iceland, although practical details are always debated! Successful management, requires - Extensive scheme of research and monitoring - Responsible long-term sustainable harvest strategy and catch rules evaluated according to international standards - Efficient control and enforcement Icelandic authorities and the fishing industry committed to responsible management of the fish resources, based on scientific knowledge We cannot afford but doing it right!

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