Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, STECF (Dataset URL is not available)

External Data Spec Published 11 Sep 2017
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STECF Mediterranean and Black Sea Working Group Reports.  Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-19-01). Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-76-02913-7, doi:10.2760/22641, JRC116446

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Indicators using this data

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.
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; 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 GES 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:  (1) it should be exploited sustainably, consistent with high long-term yields; (2) it should have full reproductive capacity, to maintain stock biomass; and (3) a certain proportion of older and larger fish/shellfish should be maintained (or increased), as this is an indicator of a healthy stock. 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 International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), the criterion for sustainable reproductive capacity (SSB > SSB MSY ) has been changed, 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 Ocean and Baltic Sea, but not, for the most part, by assessments of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), 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 for SSB and a good proxy for SSB MSY  (i.e. MSY B trigger ) are available, and the stock is considered to have achieved GES only if SSB > SSB MSY  (or an 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. 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 assessed: 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 and SSB: status assessed based on both F and SSB.   Because of ongoing discussions about the criteria integration rules for descriptor 3, the stocks are classified as: assessed stocks for which adequate information is available to determine GES based on F and SSB; assessed stocks for which insufficient information is available to determine GES based on F or SSB; assessed stocks for which insufficient information is available to determine GES according to both reference points F and SSB.   For those stocks for which adequate information is available to determine GES based on fishing mortality (F) and/or reproductive capacity (SSB), a second distinction is made between (1) stocks in good status based on both fishing mortality and reproductive capacity; (2) stocks in good status based on only one criteria (either because one of the two criteria is in good status or data are available for only one criteria and it is in good status); and (3) stocks not in good status (either because one of the two criteria is not in good status or data are available for only one criteria and it is not in good status). Total landings Landings information for the North-East Atlantic and the Baltic Sea is based on the ICES  official nominal catches, 2006-2017 data set . Fisheries nominal catch statistics are reported annually by national offices. In cooperation with Eurostat and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the ICES prepares and publishes the official nominal catch statistics data set for the North-East Atlantic (FAO major fishing area 27). Landings information for the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea is based on the FAO's capture production data set. For the Mediterranean and Black Seas, the figures are based on 2016 landings data. 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 in the North-East Atlantic is currently considered to form 16 different stocks, between which mixing is generally negligible. These stocks are found over multiple MSFD ecoregions, and some individual stock distributions cover more than one ecoregion. However, in this analysis each stock has been assigned to a single ecoregion (see Methodology). In the Mediterranean and Black Seas, 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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