Ices megrim rockall 2024

ICES has released its recommendations regarding Megrim fishing opportunities in Rockall area for the year 2024. Photo: Gannet Fishmongers

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has released its recommendations regarding Megrim (Lepidorhombus spp.) fishing opportunities in Division 6.b (Rockall) for the year 2024.

According to ICES, applying the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) approach for Megrim in Division 6.b, the total allowable catches for 2024 should not exceed 1,115 tonnes.

This limit is aimed at maintaining a balance between fishing activities and the preservation of this marine resource. It’s important to note that ICES acknowledges the presence of a precautionary management plan for this stock, which has been developed and adopted by one of the relevant management authorities. However, the focus of the advice remains on the stock level management.

When assessing the conservation aspects of Megrim in Division 6.b, ICES did not identify any specific conservation concerns. This suggests that the stock is currently within sustainable levels.

Examining the stock’s development over time, ICES found that the fishing pressure on the Megrim stock in Division 6.b is below the level that would compromise sustainability (FMSY). Additionally, the biomass, or the total weight of the stock, is above the reference points for sustainable management, including the MSY Btrigger and Blim.

It is important to note that ICES encountered some challenges during the assessment process. The Scottish and Irish Anglerfish and Megrim Industry Science Survey was unable to sample Division 6.b in 2022 due to vessel breakdown, and a similar situation occurred in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, sensitivity analyses conducted as part of the assessment process demonstrated the robustness of the results despite missing survey data up to the present extent. Fortunately, the survey was successfully completed in 2023, providing valuable data for the assessment.

One notable concern highlighted in the ICES advice is the mismatch between the management area and the assessment area. This discrepancy creates the potential for catches to exceed the advised limits, emphasizing the importance of a coordinated and area-specific approach to fisheries management.

In summary, ICES advises that, to ensure the sustainable exploitation of Megrim in Division 6.b (Rockall) in 2024, catches should not exceed 1,115 tonnes. While there are no immediate conservation concerns, the misalignment of management and assessment areas necessitates careful monitoring to avoid surpassing advised limits and to safeguard the long-term health of this fishery.

Source: Press Release

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