Nephrops in Devils Hole FU34, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 29 August 2019
- Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) in Division 4.b, Functional Unit 34 (central North Sea, Devil’s Hole)
- European Union
- Stock Status
Nephrops in Devil’s Hole FU34, has been scored a moderate risk. The status of the stock is uncertain but it is estimated to be exploited at safe levels.
Since there are no agreed reference points for this stock the risk score was calculated using the RASS scoring guideline’s data-limited approach where the low vulnerability score for Nephrops (14/100; Sealifebase) was weighted with an uncertain trend in the stock size indicator.
Nephrops in Devil’s Hole FU34, has been scored moderate risk. Whilst the functional unit is assessed biennially as a data-limited stock by ICES, the TAC is set for the North Sea as a whole, which could lead to uncontrolled increases in fishing effort in individual functional units.
There is provision within the current Multi Annual Plan for the North Sea to introduce measures to conserve individual Nephrops functional units if required. However, a full set of reference levels is not available for this functional unit at present, so it could be difficult to define whether these measures should be introduced.
Surveillance is generally effective with adequate enforcement and compliance.
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 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 introduction of the Multi-Annual-Plan (MAP) for the North Sea in European fisheries is designed to increase flexibility in the setting of Total Allowable Catches and reducing the risk of the fisheries being choked when adhering to the landing obligation, which now (2019) requires landing of all catches of TAC regulated species with some exemptions for survivability and ‘de minimus’ for relatively small quantities discarded.
The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because; there is the potential for this fishery to interact with vulnerable marine habitats within the core fishing areas. Spatial management to reduce these interactions is being developed, but not yet implemented.