International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
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Report of the Ad Hoc Group on Sandeel (AGSAN)

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posted on 2023-03-22, 08:35 authored by ICESICES

The Ad hoc Group on Sandeel (AGSAN2) was set up to address a request dealing

with sandeel in the North Sea and Skagerrak. The main aim of the meeting was to

provide advice on long term management strategies for the fishery and followed on

from suggestions outlined in previous AGSAN and AGSANNOP reports from 2007.

Past meetings of the group agreed that it is essential to account for sub‐stock structuring

in future management because management regimes have failed to avoid local

depletion in many areas and to account for regional differences in productivity and

catch rates. This was again highlighted in 2008 by regional differences in the recruitment

of 1‐group sandeels. Due to a scarcity of 1‐group sandeels in the Norwegian

EEZ the fishery was closed early before the agreed quota was fully taken. The group

also considered gear impacts and an annex summarising an impact study of beam

trawling is presented.

AGSAN2 considered long term management strategies in terms of an effort control

component, a TAC component and area closures. The potential to use stochastic short

term projections for estimating the 2009 TAC setting was considered and a plan proposed.

The various objectives of closed areas were considered and in the short term,

emergency measures to promote recovery of commercially extinct grounds were considered

to have the highest priority and would also be the easiest to implement. The

group proposes that within two years, and with a better understanding of source‐sink

dynamics, that it may be possible to propose a network of closed areas that would

improve the long term sustainability of the fishery. Seasonal closures may also help in

protecting the stock and the economic viability of the fishery. Survey approaches that

can be used to monitor regional changes in sandeel abundance were evaluated. These

approaches appear promising and could provide an alternative to the real time monitoring

of commercial CPUE in the future. A potential timetable for a move to a more

sustainable and spatially aware management strategy was suggested for the coming



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