Analysis of ICES advice reveals optimism for the future of fish stocks Published: 20 August, 2013
Seafish has carried out an in-depth analysis of new advice for the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea fish stocks published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in May and June. The industry authority has now published a top-line summary document of the new scientific assessments.
Tom Pickerell, technical director, Seafish, said: Our interpretation of the ICES advice is that there is reason for cautious optimism in the industry as we continue to see iconic stocks such as cod in the North Sea move towards recovery. However, it is important that that we continue to improve our knowledge and management of stocks across all areas so that we can reach our goal of a profitable and sustainable industry that works in harmony with the marine environment.
The Seafish summary examines the ICES scientific analysis of 117 fish stocks in June 2013. In particular it highlights fishing mortality in relation to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach, and stock status in relation to spawning stock biomass. It also references the agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2013 compared with the ICES advice on a TAC for 2014. A very simple statement has also been included on the status of the spawning stock biomass in 2013 in comparison with 2012.
ICES publishes new scientific advice on stock status in June and October each year. This advice is crucial in determining the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) agreed by the European Union in December.
Tom Pickerell continued: This ICES advice forms the basis for fish lists and scoring systems, and ultimately in recommendations on which fish to eat or avoid meaning it can have particular relevance for consumers.
We have also captured the ICES commentary on fisheries in the Baltic Sea, Bay of Biscay, Celtic Sea, and North Sea where discards are a particular concern and this is compiled in a separate document.
The two summaries are regularly used by the entire fishing supply chain in the UK as well as environmental groups and Government departments with vested interests in securing long term sustainable solutions to fishing.