Nephrops off Horns Reef (FU33), Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 03 May 2019
- Nephrops off Horn's Reef, Functional Unit 33
- Stock Status
Very high risk
Nephrops off Horn’s Reef, FU33 has been scored 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 off Horn’s Reef, FU33 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 moderately effective, though more effective on larger vessels. Compliance is considered adequate with no officially reported problems.
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 moderate risk. This is because, with in the core area of this fishery there are vulnerable marine habitats identified and currently there is some spatial management to avoid trawling affecting these habitats. However, there remains some uncertainties about the location of some sensitive seabed habitats so these remain at risk.