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Plaice in the Celtic Sea, Beam trawl

fish

Pleuronectes platessa

Content last updated
4th Oct 2017

Stock:
Plaice in Divisions VIIf and g (Celtic Sea)

Management:
EU

Overview

European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) is a widely distributed flatfish that inhabits the waters of the temperate Northeast Atlantic Ocean most frequently at depths ranging from 10 to 50 m. Adults are found in a variety of habitat types, with older fish usually inhabiting deeper waters. In British waters, this species matures between 24.7 and 31 cm in total length and the maximum reported length and age is 100 cm and 50 years respectively. They feed on worms, molluscs and small crustaceans and they are preyed on by other fish, marine mammals and sea birds. Spawning occurs in shallow waters from December to March at temperatures around 6˚C (Pawson, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2015).

 

The mixed plaice and sole fishery in Divisions VIIf, g (Celtic Sea) is dominated by otter trawls (51% of the landings) and beam trawls (43%), with bycatch of both commercial and non-commercial species. The main fishery occurs in the spawning area off the north Cornish coast, at depths greater than 40 m, approximately 20 to 25 miles offshore. Although plaice are taken throughout the year, the bulk of landings occur between February and March. Historically (1980-1998) annual landing were around 1 000-2 500 tonnes but after a substantial decrease they have stabilised at around 430 tonnes since 2004. During this period, discards exceeded landings and total catches were estimated to range between 700 and 1 700 tonnes (ICES, 2015). The status of the Celtic Sea plaice stock is stable but at a low level well below historical abundance.

 

References

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2015. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication.

www.fishbase.org, version (08/2015).

ICES. 2015. Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in Divisions VIIf, g (Bristol Channel, Celtic Sea). ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort Celtic Seas Ecoregions, ICES Advice 2015, Book 5, Section 5.3.38.

Pawson, M.G. 1995. Biogeographical identification of English Channel fish and shellfish stocks. Fish-eries Research Technical Report No. 99. MAFF Directorate of Fisheries Research, Lowestoft. Available at: http://www.cefas.co.uk/Publications/techrep/tech99.pdf

Stock Status

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The status of the plaice stock in the Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea (ICES Divisions 7f,g) has been scored a low risk. The stock is subject to a data limited assessment based on two indices of biomass from surveys both of which show an increasing trend. There is also a data limited assessment using proxy reference points which indicates a relatively low level of exploitation and biomass at a level likely to result in sustainable exploitation.

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Management

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The management of plaice in Bristol Channel and Celtic Sea (ICES Divisions 7f,g) has been scored a low risk. Management controls (TACs) are derived from a data limited stock assessment and Total Allowable Catches are set in line with this advice. Although high levels of discarding may limit the ability of the TAC to control total mortality on this stock, estimated catches are in line with scientific advice.

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Bycatch

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The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because beam trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch of non-target and vulnerable species (> 30% of catch weight), including demersal elasmobranchs and protected, endangered and threatened (e.g. sharks and rays) species in certain circumstances. Absolute levels of discards across all fleets have gradually decreased since 2002 and the incoming EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding further (Catchpole et al., 2011).

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Habitat

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The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because beam trawls interact with the seabed, modifying bottom topography including damage and removal of some biogenic features and interacting with vulnerable marine habitats and benthic communities.  However, the risk due to damage to vulnerable marine habitats is likely to be reduced given that most of the footprint of the gear occurs on core fishing grounds.

 

Some spatial management is in place and is continually being developed, which will restrict the footprint of this gear on the seabed. However, there remains some uncertainty about the location of some sensitive seabed habitats so these remain at risk

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Outlook

Type Current Risk Status Outlook Reason

Stock

Low Stable

The status of the stock is likely to remain stable in the future given that biomass estimates have increased since the mid-2000s. No reliable forecast can be presented for this stock given that the assessment is only indicative of trends and stock size and fishing mortality are uncertain.

Management

Low Stable

Management of Celtic Sea plaice is likely to remain stable in the future. A comprehensive regulatory framework is in place and management controls are routinely enforced and independently verified through surveillance of fishing activities.

Bycatch

High Improving

Beam trawls disturb seabed habitats, but a range of Marine Protected Areas have been established and are under development to help minimise damage to vulnerable marine habitats.

Habitat

High Improving

Beam trawls disturb seabed habitats, but a range of Marine Protected Areas have been established and are under development to help minimise damage to vulnerable marine habitats.

Nutritional Information

 
Energy
76 (kcal)
4%*
LOW
Fat
1.2 (g)
2%*
LOW
Saturates
0.2 (g)
1%*
LOW
Sugar
0 (g)
0%*
 
Salt
0.37 (g)
6%*

*per 100 g

Nutrition information per 100g raw product

Rich in Omega-3 | Protein | Thiamin | Vitamin B12 | Biotin | Selenium

Good Source Of Niacin | Vitamin B6 | Phosphorus | Iodine

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