ICES recommends that fishing for spurdog can be reopened in the Northeast Atlantic with a total allowable catch of 17,353 tonnes for 2023

ICES recommends that fishing for spurdog can be reopened in the Northeast Atlantic with a total allowable catch of 17,353 tonnes for 2023

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas has released its advice for Spurdog (Squalus acanthias) in subareas 1–10, 12, and 14 (the Northeast Atlantic and adjacent waters) for 2023.

The ICES has advised that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2023 and 2024 should be no more than 17,353 tonnes and 17,855 tonnes, respectively.

The advice has been issued in line with stock development over time as fishing pressure is currently below HRmsy, and spawning stock size is above MSY, Btrigger, Bpa and Blim.

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On the quality of the assessment ICEs says that this stock was benchmarked in 2021 (ICES, 2021). There was a substantial improvement in data available for the assessment, including survey indices and associated length compositions covering a much larger area of the stock distribution, fecundity data spanning a much wider timeframe, fleet-based length data covering more countries than just the UK, and improved catch information since 2005. There remain some concerns about data quality and availability, including uncertainty in the historical level of catches because of misreporting and use of generic landings categories, and lack of data on dead discards.  The increased variance in estimated recruitment from 1975 onwards is due to there being sufficient information (survey indices, survey and fishery length composition data) from that period for its estimation while prior to that a single stock recruit relationship was used.

The ICES report says that while the increase in the stock biomass was already noticed in the previous assessment, the benchmark (and notably the revision of the reference points) has resulted in a changed perception of the stock.

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ICES recommends for Spurdog fishing to be reopened in Northeast Atlantic

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