haddock fishing opportunities 2021

The ICES has released its advice on fishing opportunities for haddock in 2021

The ICES has released its advice on fishing opportunities, catch and fishing effort for the Celtic Seas ecoregion for Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) in divisions 7.b–k (southern Celtic Seas and English Channel)

ICES has advised that when the EU multiannual plan (MAP) for Western Waters and adjacent waters is applied, catches in 2021 that correspond to the F ranges in the MAP are between 12 128 tonnes and 25 454 tonnes. 

According to the MAP, catches higher than those corresponding to FMSY (18 382 tonnes) can only be taken under conditions specified in the MAP, while the entire range is considered precautionary when applying the ICES advice rule. 

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Stock development over time Following a decline from its peak in 2011, the spawning-stock biomass (SSB) has increased since 2014 and is above MSY Btrigger. Fishing mortality (F) has been above FMSY for the entire time-series but has been gradually declining. Recruitment in 2018 and 2019 was above average.

The advised catch for 2021 is higher than the advised catch for 2020, owing to a revision in the perception of the stock following the benchmark of the assessment, and the above-average incoming recruitment (2018 and 2019) resulting in an increase in biomass. 

Basis of the advice 

Haddock in divisions 7.b–k. The basis of the advice. Advice basis Management plan. Management plan The EU multiannual plan (MAP) for stocks in the Western Waters and adjacent waters applies to this stock. The plan specifies conditions for setting fishing opportunities depending on stock status and making use of the FMSY range for the stock. Full details of the plan are described in EU (2019). 

Quality of the assessment

The stock assessment was benchmarked in 2020 (ICES, 2020a). The model was changed to a stochastic state–space assessment model (SAM). Maturity and natural mortality information were updated, catch (landings and discards) time series were reviewed and updated from 2005 to 2018, and survey indices updated to a single-modelled time-series, using a vector-autoregressive spatio-temporal model (VAST). These changes result in an upward revision in recent SSB estimates resulting in a change to an increasing trend in stock size in recent years. There is a downward revision in F, which also shows less variability, relative to previous assessment results.

Issues relevant for the advice 

The assessment and the advice are for divisions 7.b–k, including rectangles 33E2 and 33E3 in Division 7.a, as they are considered part of this stock. This reallocation has increased since first applied in 2006. The 2019 reallocation (760 tonnes) is the largest to date, accounting for 9.9% of the ICES estimated division 7.b–k landings, and 43% of the Irish Sea (Division 7.a) landings. This should be taken into consideration when setting TACs for the two management areas (divisions 7.a and 7.b–k), as a portion of the catch taken under the Division 7.a TAC is considered to be part of the divisions 7.b–k stock. Forecast catches in 2020 (20 274 tonnes) are estimated to be in excess of the TAC (10 859 tonnes) because of the large incoming recruitment. High abundance of the 2018 year class is expected to give rise to discards greater than landings in 2020, considering recent discarding patterns. The discarding of the current year class in 2021 is likely to decrease as they become larger; however, the high 2019 recruitment is likely to extend this high discarding situation. Mixed-fisheries considerations Haddock in divisions 7.b–k is caught as part of a mixed fishery with cod and whiting. Mixed-fisheries advice will be provided in the Celtic Seas fisheries overview later in the year.

See the full report here.


Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

ICES releases its advice on Haddock fishing opportunities 2021

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