Nephrops in North Galicia and Cantabrian Sea, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 19 December 2016
- Nephrops in Division VIIIc (FU25, 31)
- Stock Status
The status of the Nephrops stock in Division 8c (FU25, 31) has been scored a moderate risk. Although the species has a low vulnerability score of 14/100 (Pauly and Palomares, 2014), the stock size indicators for functional units 25 and 31 have declined over the duration of the time-series and have reached a record low in 2013.
The management of Nephrops in Division VIIIc (FU25, 31) has been scored a moderate risk. This is because management decisions are based on a data-limited stock assessment undertaken biennially for functional units 25 and 31 combined, landings of Nephrops are generally below the TAC; directed fishing for Nephrops is prohibited, but the TAC is to allow for bycatch. Catch advice is provided for the entire Division which results in difficulties in managing fishing effort in multiple functional units with varying population trends. Surveillance is generally effective with adequate enforcement and compliance.
The bycatch in the demersal otter trawl fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because bycatch and discard rates are high in demersal otter trawls targeting Nephrops due to the small cod end mesh requirements of the target species. However, Nephrops in this area are not targeted, but caught as a bycatch in other demersal fisheries. There is uncertainty in the bycatch levels in this fishery, but effort levels are controlled under a recovery plan aimed at limiting the impact of bycatch of hake and Nephrops.
The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because demersal otter trawls interact with seabed habitats resulting in abrasion and penetration from ground gear, sweeps and bridles. Some spatial overlap exists between fishing activities and areas colonised by benthic invertebrate communities, and no spatial management has been established to limit interactions between demersal otter trawls and vulnerable marine habitats. Changes in the biodiversity of these areas have been associated with trawling. There is a process in place under the OSPAR convention and UK Marine Acts to avoid adverse impacts through the designation of Marine Protected Areas.