EU request for the evaluation of the harvest control rule for sole in the Bay of Biscay
The evaluated harvest control rule (HCR; defined in Point 1, clauses 1–6) is considered to be precautionary when the fixed TAC is set at less than or equal to 4500 tonnes (Item (a) of the request).
ICES has no specific criteria for selecting what constitutes a high probability of reaching FMSY in a specific year (Item (b) of the request). Instead, ICES provides the probability of having achieved the change from the fixed-TAC to the FMSY-target regime of the HCR in each year (Table 22.214.171.124.1). This occurs when F is estimated to have reached FMSY. Managers should draw their own conclusions on what constitutes a sufficiently high probability of achieving FMSY as a target.
The simulations show that the year when F is estimated to have reached FMSY is particularly sensitive to the combination of the selected fixed TAC in the HCR and the realised recruitment. The probability of reaching FMSY with a fixed TAC increases with time. Within the requested range of fixed TACs the simulations show that none of the fixed TAC regimes have >50% probability of reaching FMSY in 2015, but all fixed TAC targets ≤ 4500 tonnes have >50% probability of reaching FMSY by 2020. However, it takes longer for higher fixed TAC options to reach FMSY with some probability of failing to reduce F sufficiently to move from the fixed TAC target to the FMSY target for a few years beyond 2020 (Table 126.96.36.199.1).
ICES has not evaluated the HCR defined in Point 2 of the request. When no analytical assessment is available, ICES recommends that the advice should comply with the ICES data-limited stocks framework, utilizing the existing survey-based methodology (ICES, 2012).
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee