Small-eyed ray in Western Channel, Irish and Celtic Seas and West of Scotland, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 21 February 2017
- Small-eyed ray ICES Divisions VIIa-k, and Sub-area VI (Irish, Celtic Seas, western Channel and west of Scotland)
- Stock Status
Very high risk
The status of small eyed ray stock in ICES Divisions 7f and 7g (Bristol Channel, Celtic Sea north) has been scored as very high risk. Reference points for long-term sustainability have not been defined for this stock, and therefore cannot be used to derive a risk score. The risk score was calculated using a data-limited approach where the vulnerability score for cuckoo ray (62/100; FishBase, 2015) was weighted with the stock size indicator which is below average in recent years (ICES 2016).
The management of small eyed ray stock in ICES Divisions 7f and 7g (Bristol Channel, Celtic Sea north) has been scored as a moderate risk. This is because data-derived management controls are in place, albeit under the framework of a generic TAC for all skates (Rajidae) over a broader management area, and that compliance can be patchy (e.g. misidentifications in skate species can occur). Data-limited assessments and scientific advice for these stocks are provided on a biennial basis and a comprehensive regulatory framework is in place.
The bycatch risk of this fishery is scored as high risk. This is because otter trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch of non-target and vulnerable species (> 30% of catch weight), including demersal elasmobranchs and protected, endangered and threatened (e.g. sharks and rays) species in certain circumstances. However, the incoming EU landings obligation is intended to reduce discarding.
The habitat risk of this fishery is scored as a 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, but there remains uncertainties about the location of some sensitive seabed habitats and therefore some risk of further impact.