The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) claims there is more data available on North Sea horse mackerel than used in the ICES assessment
The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) has written to the Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva on progressing the ICES assessments for North Sea horse mackerel and boarfish.
The Pelagic AC (PelAC) members met on Wednesday, 02 March 2022 to evaluate the advice issued for 2022 for the stocks under its remit and the final uptake of TAC recommendations at December Council.
This was also the annual meeting where the Pelagic AC looks ahead to establish its priorities for the coming year. One of the discussions held during this meeting was related to the assessment status of the North Sea horse mackerel and boarfish stocks.
Being data-limited and thus subject to the ICES framework for Category 3 stocks, PelAC feel that both stocks currently lack full analytical assessments. PelAC has a long-standing history of developing multi-annual management strategies for the stocks under its remit and say it will continue pursuing this key objective moving forward.
In the letter to the Director-General they say that they believe there is more data available on North Sea mackerel than what is currently being used by the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas). They say that in their recommendations for fishing opportunities, PelAC advised the EU Commission to ask the ICES to make optimal use of the available data for the North Sea horse mackerel, and to proiritise upgrading the stock into a higher category, but it’s failure to do so has left them at a loss.
Boarfish has been a Category 3 stock since 2014 and the PelAC is unaware to what extent the development of an assessment model is producing results. Given that both stocks are subject to a two-year advice by ICES, the PelAC believes it is becoming increasingly urgent to take active and concrete steps that will progress these stocks to higher assessment categories.
The letter concludes by saying, “We kindly ask the Commission to support the Pelagic AC by requesting ICES to improve the quality of the data available for these stocks, and to prioritize the transition of these two stocks to higher stock categories. To this end, the PelAC suggests to hold active discussions with ICES to better understand what would be required to make this transition possible as a matter of urgency. The Pelagic AC offers its full support and input into such discussions.”