Nephrops in the Moray Firth, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 17 July 2019
- Nephrops in the Moray Firth, Functional Unit 9
- Stock Status
Very high risk
Nephrops in Moray Firth, FU9 has been scored a low risk. This is because the stock is at safe levels and it is exploited optimally.
The biomass has been above the level associated with sustainable harvesting (MSYB trigger) since 1997. Harvest rate has fluctuated around that associated with Maximum Sustainable Yield (FMSY) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently at this level.
Nephrops in the Moray Firth, FU9 has been scored low risk. The functional unit (stock) is assessed annually by ICES. Although the TAC is set for the North Sea as a whole, which could lead to uncontrolled increases in fishing effort on individual functional units, there are safeguards under the Multi Annual Plan for the management of North Sea fisheries to avoid overexploitation of these individual functional units.
The bycatch risk of this fishery are scored very high risk. This is because the bycatch and reported discard rates are high (>50%) in Nephrops trawls due to the small cod end mesh requirements of the target species. However, measures to reduce bycatch and discards in these fisheries have been the subject of much research over the years, resulting in technical measures which improve selectivity, which in turn have been implemented as a statutory requirement. Further measures, such as modified trawl designs, have been implemented on a non-statutory basis. Furthermore, the cod recovery plan has been implemented in this area and this is expected to have had an influence on the discarding levels in North Sea demersal fisheries and the incoming EU landings obligation is also intended to reduce discarding.
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, as there remains some uncertainties about the location of sensitive seabed habitats so these remain at risk.