Whiting in the North Sea and Eastern English Channel, Demersal otter trawl
- Content last updated
- 15 March 2019
- Whiting in Sub-area 4 (North Sea) and Division 7d (Eastern English Channel)
- Stock Status
Whiting in the North Sea and eastern English Channel has been scored a low risk. This is because the stock is insided safe limits, however expliotation is not optimal. Spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has fluctuated just below precautionary levels and MSYBtrigger since 2010, but is currently above this level. Fishing mortality (F) has been below precautionary levels, that is within sustainable but above optimal levels (FMSY) since 2002. Recruitment (R) has been low since 2003.
The management of whiting in the North Sea and Eastern English Channel Sub-area 4 and Division 7d has been scored a moderate risk. This is because although management decisions are informed by an annual stock assessment, there is a mismatch between the assessment and management units. Control measures have not been entirely effective in maintaining spawning stock biomass at historic levels despite a reduction in fishing mortality.
The bycatch risk of this fishery has been scored a moderate risk. This is because the fishery has potential to take and discard at risk stocks such as West of Scotland and North Sea cod. A range of measures and/or incentives are in place to manage the fisheries, these measures, where adopted, will act to improve the selectivity of the fishery for some other species taken in the same fisheries depending on size and behaviour.
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.