EU Request to advise on the list of areas where VMEs are known to occur or are likely to occur and on the existing deep-sea fishing areas (ref. (EU)2016/2336)
There are two parts to this ICES advice:
- ICES advises that the “Existing Deep-Sea Fishing Areas” for the reference years 2009–2011 are based on the VMS and logbook data submitted to ICES in 2019 and shown in the accompanying Interactive Maps and PDF maps. The coordinates are provided in CSV files. “Existing Deep-Sea Fishing Areas” for the reference years are limited to the 400–800 metre depth range and are separated into three fishing footprints based on the gear type used. These are the combined static and mobile bottom-contacting gear (MBCG) footprint, the static gear only footprint, and the MBCG only footprint.
- ICES advises that the list of areas where VMEs are known to occur or likely to occur is based on the VME data submitted to ICES in 2020. These areas are shown in the accompanying interactive maps. The coordinates are provided in CSV files. The list of habitat types, indicators, and physical elements used to define these VME areas is provided, along with the criteria used to translate the quantity and quality of data into the likelihood of VME occurrence, known as a VME Index.
This data-driven advice was developed through an iterative three-year process and is modelled on the approach taken by “NEAFC Recommendation 19- 2014: Protection of VMEs in NEAFC Regulatory Areas”. It involves combining two data streams, VMS/logbook data to quantify the fishing footprint and data on where VMEs are known to or are likely to occur. To demonstrate how these two data layers can be used in practice to protect VMEs from fishing impacts, ICES developed and describes two scenarios, each with two options; ICES considers these to be consistent with the relevant United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Sustainable Fisheries Resolutions and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) International Guidelines for the Management of Deep-sea Fisheries in the High Seas with regard to the protection of VMEs. The two scenarios place different emphasis on the dual aspects of the UNGA policy and EU Regulation 2016/2336, that is, protection of VMEs with and without consideration of bottom-contacting fishing activity.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee