Catch statistics (ICES)

External Data Spec Published 30 Oct 2014
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Annual nominal catches of more than 200 species of fish and shellfish in the Northeast Atlantic region are officially submitted by 20 ICES member countries. ICES has been gathering and publishing fisheries statistics since 1904. The current data is collected and coordinated in collaboration with Statistical Office of the European Communities ( EUROSTAT) . The data sources are the national statistical offices, in some countries the collection and compilation of fisheries statistics are handled by specialized organizations.

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Indicators using this data

Status of marine fish and shellfish stocks in European seas Status of marine fish and shellfish stocks in European seas The indicator tracks both the status of commercial fish stocks in European regional seas and the pressure exerted by fisheries on those stocks, as well as the quality of the information available. To that end, the following is reported: the status of marine fish and shellfish stocks based on the current level of exploitation and reproductive capacity; the importance of the (sub-)region, reflected by the total landings (as a proxy of catch) of fish from commercial fisheries in European seas per MSFD (sub-)region, and the availability of appropriate information for the status assessment, as reflected by the proportion of those landings covered by quantitative stock assessments (i.e. the proportion providing the required indicators and their reference levels). Status of marine fish and shellfish stocks The MSFD requires 'Good Environmental Status' to be achieved by 2020 (EC, 2008). According to the MSFD (Descriptor 3), three criteria are relevant to determining if a fish or shellfish stock has achieved GES: Sustainable exploitation: sustainably exploited stocks are stocks for which F is at or below levels that deliver MSY, i.e. F ≤ F MSY . Thus, a stock is considered to have been assessed against this criterion only if values for F and F MSY  are available ,  and the stock is considered to have achieved GES only if F ≤ F MSY . Reproductive capacity: in areas assessed by the ICES, the criterion for sustainable reproductive capacity (SSB > SSB MSY ) has been modified, for pragmatic reasons, to SSB > MSY B trigger . SSB is consistently provided as part of ICES stock assessments, i.e. of the North-East Atlantic and Baltic Sea, but not, for the most part, by STECF assessments, i.e. of the Mediterranean and Black Sea stocks. Similarly to the above, a stock is considered to have been assessed against this criterion if values of SSB and a good proxy for SSB MSY are available, and the stock is considered to have achieved GES only if SSB > SSB MSY  (or appropriate proxy). Healthy age and size structure: in this case, the assumption is that a stock with sufficient numbers of old and large fish is healthy and that the more older/larger fish there are, the better the health of the fish stock. However, this criterion is not sufficiently developed and no threshold for GES is known for this criterion. Therefore, it is not included. This has resulted in four assessment categories: Not: no sufficient information available to assess status; F: status assessed based only on F and F MSY; SSB: status assessed based only on SSB and SSB MSY (or some proxy, i.e. MSY B trigger ); F & SSB: status assessed based on both F and SSB. Total landings Landings are based on the ICES Official Nominal Catches data set and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 'GFCM (Mediterranean and Black Sea) capture production' annual statistics. The statistics comprise catch data reported by country, by species and by area or division. Only some of the species/taxa in the landings data can be considered 'commercial fish', which, for assessment purposes, may consist of several stocks. Only some of these stocks are covered by quantitative stock assessments such that their status can be assessed based on the above criteria. Stocks In the North-East Atlantic area, stocks are generally defined based on biological criteria and knowledge of population migration, mixing and spawning areas. For example, cod is currently considered to form eight different stocks, i.e. Sub-areas I and II (Northeast Arctic), Division Va (Iceland grounds), Sub-division Vb1 (Faroe Plateau), Sub-area IV and Divisions VIId and IIIa West, Sub-divisions 22-24 (Western Baltic Sea), Division VIa (West of Scotland), Division VIIa (Irish Sea) and Divisions VIIe-k (Western English Channel), between which mixing is negligible. These eight stocks cover five MSFD (sub-)regions, i.e. the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Barents Sea and the Icelandic waters. In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, on the other hand, stocks are mostly defined by management area because of a lack of biological knowledge. Because these stocks are based on a specific geographical area, most can be attributed to a specific MSFD (sub-)region.

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