EU request on an interarea flexibility between divisions 8.c and 9.a for horse mackerel in 2022
ICES has provided estimates of maximum possible interarea quota flexibility between the southern and western stocks of horse mackerel for 2022. Given that FMSY = FP.05 for the southern stock, there is no longer any flexibility to increase catches above the advised FMSY values for this stock, i.e. there can be no transfers of additional quota from the western to the southern stock while still maintaining precautionary management. Given that FMSY is slightly lower than FP.05 for the western stock, up to 4639 tonnes of quota could be transferred in 2022 to Division 8.c without raising F on the whole western stock above FP.05. Given that the western stock is currently below MSY Btrigger, interarea flexibility is calculated based on a reduced FP.05 according to ICES MSY advice rule.
ICES also advises that while such interarea flexibility would be precautionary, this approach may not achieve the objective of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). It must be noted that the SSB of western horse mackerel is only slightly above Blim, and there is considerable bias in the assessment (a persistent lowering of estimated SSB), which may affect the validity of current estimates. Any additional catches taken from the western stock would further hinder its recovery. Allowing interarea flexibility also means that TAC shares by country (relative stability) are not maintained.
ICES notes that because the North Sea stock lacks precautionary reference points and F is assessed to exceed the FMSY proxy reference point for this stock, no additional catches should be taken from this stock above the advised value.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee