ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied catches in for sole in the Eastern English Channel for 2023 should not exceed 1,747 tonnes

ICES advises that catches for sole in the Eastern English Channel in 2023 should not exceed 1,747 tonnes. Photo courtesy of Tony Fitzsimmons

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) has issued advice for fishing opportunities for Sole (Solea solea) in Division 7.d, eastern English Channel in 2023.

ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applies, catches in 2023 should be no more than 1,747 tonnes.

ICES notes the existence of a precautionary management plan, developed, and adopted by one of the relevant management authorities for this stock.

On the stock development over time, ICES as found that fishing pressure on the stock is below Fmsy: spawning-stock size is below MSY Btrigger and between Bpa and Blim.

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On the bass of the advice, the ICES says that it is aware of the multiannual management plan (MAP) which has been adopted by the EU for this stock (EU, 2019) and which ICES considers as precautionary, but does note that there is no shared management plan with the UK for this stock.

This stock was interbenchmarked in 2022 (ICES, 2022a) because of:

1) a trend in the survey catchability of the UK beam trawl survey (UK BTS) likely related to the smaller size of sole in more recent years and

2) a poor fit of the state-space assessment model (SAM) to the observed catches.

During the interbenchmark, changes were made to the configuration of the model to improve the fit   to the catch data. Poorer tracking of the cohorts in the most recent part of the time-series (from 2010 onwards) led to the exclusion of ages 1−3 from the UK BTS index from 2010–2021. As a result, recruitment in 2019 was revised downward about 52% compared to the previous estimate, and reference points were recalculated.

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ICES advice for 2023 Sole TAC in the Eastern English Channel

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