ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied catches for blue whiting in 2023 should be no more than 1,359,629 tonnes
The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas has issued its advice on the recommended total allowable catch for blue whiting in Northeast Atlantic and adjacent waters for 2023
ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2023 should be no more than 1,359,629 tonnes an increase on the 752,736 tonnes for 2022.
In the quality of assessment, the ICES found that this year’s assessment shows a substantial revision of the historical values of F, SSB and recruitment for 2021. The 2020-year class (recruitment at age 1 in 2021) is now estimated to be at a historical high (71.6 billion), while last year’s estimate was 22.8 billion. Fishing mortality (F) in 2021 is revised downward by 29%, and SSB in 2021 upward by 46%.
The revision of the 2020-year class is due to a historically high survey index value in 2022 and is corroborated by high commercial catch-at-age of the same year class in 2021 and 2022. The catch for 2021 was 9.1% lower than the preliminary value used last year, which contributes to the revision of F and SSB in this year’s assessment. Other surveys, which are not presently used in the assessment, confirm a very large 2020-year class. Preliminary catch data from Russian Federation for 2021 were used in the assessment, together with Russian catch samples that were available for the first half year. Historically, preliminary catches are comparable to ICES final estimated catch. Russian data on age composition of the catch in 2022 are not available. ICES used the historical (2019–2021) Russian proportion (13%) of total international catch weight to estimate the total catches for 2022. It was assumed that the age distribution of Russian catches is like the-catch-at age distribution available from other nations.