Irish Sea plaice, beam trawl
- Content last updated
- 31 May 2018
- Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in Division 7.a (Irish Sea)
- European Union
- Stock Status
Plaice in the Irish Sea has been scored a low risk. This is because the spawning stock biomass is above precautionary levels (above Bpa and MSYBtrigger) and the Fishing Mortality is below that which is required for Maximum Sustainable Yield (FMSY). The stock has recently been benchmarked which has improved the assessment of this stock.
The management of the Irish Sea plaice stock has been scored a moderate risk. The stock is assessed using a full anlalytical assessment and the agreed Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is consistent with scientific advice . However, the mismatch between gear selectivity, the minimum conservation reference size and market demand results in high levels of discarding which affects the uptake of the TAC and relative precision of the assessment.
The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because around 30-40% of the catch by weight is discarded including vulnerable species such as cod. Technical measures to reduce bycatch levels in this fishery include the mandatory use of 180 mm mesh sizes in the entire upper half of the anterior part of the net for beam trawlers operating with mesh sizes ≥ 80 mm.
The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because beam trawls interact with the seabed causing surface abrasion from beam shoes and sub-surface penetration from tickler chains. The use of chain-mat gear can disturb benthic communities. A seasonal closure of the spawning grounds for cod restricts the footprint of this gear on the seabed at certain times of the year.