Haddock in the North Sea, Skagerrak and West of Scotland, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 18 September 2019
- Haddock in Subarea 4 and Divisions 6a and 3a West (North Sea, West of Scotland and Skagerrak)
- European Union
- Stock Status
North Sea and West of Scotland Haddock has been scored a low risk. This is because the spawning stock biomass and fishing mortality are at levels considered to be sustainable (inside precautionary reference levels), though fishing mortality is above the optimum required to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (FMSY).
The large variation in advised TAC (from c 69,000 t in 2015 to c 30,000 t in 2019) in recent years is as a consequence of the large variation in year class strength which is characteristic of this stock. Recruitment since 2000 has been low with occasional larger year classes, the size of which is diminishing.
The management of the North Sea haddock has been scored a moderate risk. The stock is assessed annually by ICES, and has been recently benchmarked with a re-evaluation of the reference points. However, there is some uncertainty as to the effect of the implementation of the Landings Obligation will have on control and accounting for catches because there is a risk of continued undocumented discarding.
The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored a moderate risk. This is because the fishery has potential to take and discard at risk stocks such as West of Scotland and North Sea cod. A range of measures and/or incentives are in place to manage the fisheries, these measures, where adopted, will act to improve the selectivity of the fishery for some other species taken in the same fisheries depending on size and behaviour.
The habitat risk of this fishery is scored as a high risk because otter trawls are considered to have the potential to cause significant adverse effects especially to deeper water habitats. This is because, although otter trawls are considered to have the potential to cause significant adverse impacts, the risk of impact is to some extent mitigated by the fact that the ‘core’ otter trawl fisheries are spatially well defined and there has been a significant reduction in effort in this fishery over recent decades. Spatial management measures have been implemented by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations to reduce potential impacts to deep water vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) and habitats through the establishment of bottom fishery closures. However, not all deep water VME has been identified and protected through closures so it is likely that some sensitive seabed habitats remain at risk of bottom trawling impacts.