Plaice in the North Sea and Skagerrak (Subarea 4 and subdivision 3a.20), Demersal otter trawls

Pleuronectes platessa
Content last updated
14 March 2019
Stock
Plaice in the North Sea and Skagerrak (Subarea 4 and subdivision 20)
Management
EU
Stock Status
1 of 5
Very low risk
Management
3 of 5
Moderate risk
Bycatch
4 of 5
High risk
Habitat
3 of 5
Moderate risk

Stock status

1 of 5
Very low risk

The status of plaice in Subarea 4 (North Sea) and Subdivision 20 (Skagerrak) has been scored a very low risk.  The spawning stock has been at levels consistent with safe and optimal long term yields since 2011 and has been exploited at a rate consistent with maximum sustainable yield since 2009.

This is because spawning stock biomass is above the MSYBtrigger level (the level above which high optimal term yields are expected) and fishing mortality has been close to the FMSY reference point since 2009, which should result in optimal long term yields. 

Management

3 of 5
Moderate risk

The management of this stock has been scored a moderate risk. 

The stock is assessed annually by ICES, and control measures appear to have contributed to a healthy increase in stock size over the past decade. However, there is some uncertainty as to the effect of the implementation of the Landings Obligation will have on control and accounting for catches because there is a risk of continued undocumented discarding.

Bycatch

4 of 5
High risk

The bycatch risk in this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because otter trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch (> 40% of catch weight). However, the incoming EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding.

There are also catches of demersal elasmobranchs and protected, endangered and threatened (e.g. sharks and rays) species in certain circumstances.   

Habitat

3 of 5
Moderate risk

The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high-moderate  risk.  This is because, although otter trawls are considered to have a potential to cause significant habitat damage, damage to vulnerable and sensitive marine habitats is likely to be minimised given that the footprint of the fishery is within core areas, typically historically fished ground.   Spatial management to reduce potential interactions with vulnerable habitats are being developed, as there remains uncertainties about the location of some sensitive seabed habitats so these remain at risk.