Spotted ray in the West of Scotland, west and southwest of Ireland, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 14 May 2019
- Spotted ray in Sub area 6 and divisions 7b and 7j (West of Scotland, west and southwest of Ireland)
- Stock Status
The status of spotted ray in ICES subarea 6 and divisions 7b and 7j has been scored a moderate risk. This is because, whilst the state of the stock is uncertain, there is evidence for a recent increase in the stock.
No quantitative stock assessments have been undertaken and ICES cannot advise on the stock’s exploitation status relative to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) or precautionary approach (PA) reference points because the reference points have not been defined for this stock. Consequently, the risk score was calculated using the RASS scoring guidelines data-limited approach where the vulnerability score for spotted ray (57/100; FishBase, 2015) was weighted with an increasing population trend.
The management of spotted ray in ICES subarea 6 and divisions 7b and 7j has been scored a high 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 ibetwen ray particularly blonde and spotted ray species can occur). Data-limited assessments and scientific advice for this stock is 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.