Whiting West of Scotland, Demersal otter trawl (targeting Nephrops)
- Content last updated
- 12 September 2018
- Whiting in Division 6a (West of Scotland)
- Stock Status
Whiting in West of Scotland (ICES Division 6a) has been scored a high risk. The stock is outside safe biological limits, but subject to fishing mortality which is low. This is because the spawning-stock biomass, although increasing from an extremely low value in the mid-2000s, remains outside Safe Biological Limits, that is below the limit reference point Blim. Fishing mortality has declined continuously since 2000 and is now very low and below any possible FMSY values, although the recent estimates are derived mainly from estimates of discards as most of the catch is now discarded.
The management of whiting in West of Scotland (ICES Division 6a) has been scored a low risk. This is because there is a comprehensive regulatory framework in place and management decisions are based on an analytic assessment using commercial catch data and a fishery independent survey, which show a large decline in fishing mortality. However, the bulk of the fishery catch is now taken by small meshed trawlers and there is a very high discard rate. The TAC is set for divisions 6a and 6b (Rockall) combined although reported catches at Rockall are very small.
The bycatch in the Demersal Otter trawls (targeting Nephrops) fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because demersal otter trawls have the potential to take relatively high quantities of bycatch of vulnerable species in certain circumstances. The introduction of large square mesh panels in 2012, and the introduction of the landings obligation, are expected to reduce discarding of whiting and other species in the Nephrops fleet.
The habitat risk of this fishery has been scored a high risk. This is because, although otter trawls are considered to have a potential to cause significant habitat damage, a number of permanent or seasonal closures are in place that reduce the footprint of this gear on the seabed.