Marine Scotland has launched a consultation on Herring in the Firth of Clyde and setting the total allowable catch for 2022
Marine Scotland is carrying out a consultation on behalf of the UK Fisheries Administrations, to seek views on the level of the 2022 TAC, to permit the allocation of Clyde herring quota to UK fishermen.
The Clyde herring stock is defined as the stock in the maritime area situated to the northeast of a line drawn between the Mull of Kintyre (55° 17,9′ N, 05° 47,8′ W), a point at position (55° 04′ N, 05° 23′ W), and Corsewall Point (55° 00,5′ N, 05° 09,4′ W). This area is shown in section 3. Marine Scotland is carrying out this consultation on behalf of the UK Fisheries Administrations, to seek views on the level of the 2022 TAC, to permit the allocation of Clyde herring quota to UK fishermen.
On consideration of the Marine Scotland Science report:
- The herring fishery in the Clyde has declined from its peak in the 1960s, with catches typically less than 500 tonnes over the last 20 years and only 180 tonnes landed in 2021.
- Scientific surveys suggest that the herring population currently found in the Clyde is heavily dominated by young age classes (1- and 2-year old herring). These fish are below the minimum landing size in place for this area.
- Clyde herring are known to be linked to other herring stocks to the west of Scotland, which are currently in poor condition.
- There is no evidence that the current total allowable catch (TAC) for the Clyde should be increased beyond its current level of 583 tonnes.
- There is also no evidence to suggest that the TAC should be reduced, nor that the other management measures in place for herring in the Clyde should be changed.
Current knowledge of the stock is uncertain, particularly with the Q1 IBTS survey unable to take place this year, and insufficient to be able to quantify a precautionary TAC. Given these uncertainties, and signals from the scientific information that is available to us from previous years, a cautious approach to setting the TAC in 2022 would be prudent.
Marine Scotland therefore propose two options for the TAC in 2022:
- Rollover the 2021 TAC at 583 tonnes.
- Apply a precautionary buffer, i.e. a 20% reduction on the 2021 TAC. This would equate to a TAC in 2022 of 466 tonnes. This option would mirror the approach taken by ICES for some category 3-6 stocks, when the stock status is unknown.