Atlantic cod Rockall (VIb), Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 23 February 2018
- Atlantic cod in division VIb, Rockall
- Stock Status
Very high risk
The status of Atlantic cod in Division VIb (Rockall) has been scored a very high risk. This is because the species has a high to very high vulnerability score of 67/100, insufficient information is available to evaluate the population trend and no reference points for long-term sustainability have been defined for this data-limited stock. The available information is insufficient to evaluate the stock trends and exploitation but suggests that the stock may be depleted (ICES 2015a). Trawl survey catch rates of cod on Rockall are very low (ICES 2015b). A risk score was derived for this data-limited stock by weighting the high to very high vulnerability score of 67/100 by the unknown population trend.
The management of the Atlantic cod stock in Division VIb (Rockall) has been scored a moderate risk. This is because, although a comprehensive regulatory framework has been put in place, management decisions are informed by biennial ICES advice based only on reported landings and landings per unit effort series from a small stock that ICES considers is probably depleted, and uncertainty exists over the accuracy of landings statistics given that they are reported by vessels that may operate in both Divisions VIa and VIb on the same trip.
The bycatch impact of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because bycatch of non-target species in the demersal otter trawl fleet is potentially relatively high (> 40% of catch weight) compared to other fisheries in the world. Demersal otter trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch of vulnerable species in certain circumstances.
The habitat risk of this fishery is scored a high risk. This is because, although otter trawls are considered to have a potential to cause significant habitat damage, a number of permanent closures are in place that reduce the footprint of this gear on the seabed. Additional Marine Protected Areas are planned.