Report of the Working Group on Assessment of New MoU Species (WGNEW)
WGNEW covers a number of species/stocks for which ICES, with the exception of sea bass, has never provided management advice. The species include sea bass, striped red mullet, red gurnard, tub gurnard, grey gurnard, brill, turbot, lemon sole, dab, flounder and witch flounder. WGNEW suggests adding John dory (Zeus faber) to this list because of its growing importance in the coastal areas of Brittany and the western Channel.
WGNEW had its first meeting in 2005 and met again in January 2007. Following the 2005 WG’s comment on the problem of double coverage of some flatfish stocks by the Baltic Fisheries Assessment WG and WGNEW, the Baltic stocks were removed from the WGNEW ToR’s.
Sea bass has been relatively well studied in the UK (England & Wales) and in France for several years. Recent work was done on striped red mullet in France. With the exception of these two species, most other WGNEW species do not get much attention in the ICES area.
In 2005 WGNEW made a first overview of the available knowledge of all 11 species, and tried to provide information on general biology, stock identification, fisheries, survey data, biological sampling and parameters, stock trends and management. In addition an inventory was prepared of data requirements.
During this meeting the information compiled in 2005 was further updated, but, unfortunately, not very much progress has been made since WGNEW met for the first time. The group felt that this was mainly due to the poor attention given to WGNEW species, compared to the commercially more important ones, despite the fact that a lot of information on WGNEW species lies hidden in cupboards and in different databases containing data from market sampling and research vessel surveys.
To make significant progress WGNEW is of the opinion that it is essential that some funding is provided to make these “hidden” data available to WGNEW and to perform some analyses of these data. During the meeting of the EU Regional Coordination Meeting on the North East Atlantic in Lisbon (October 2006), a proposal was submitted for a Small Scale Project that could provide such funds to the participants of WGNEW. This proposal has since then been selected for further consideration and hopefully a detailed proposal for funding can be submitted in the course of 2007.
In addition to the Project just mentioned, IFREMER will submit a second proposal for further work on the stock ID of striped red mullet. For the first project a period of 6 months was thought to be sufficient, whereas a stock ID project should last for at least 18 months.
Another meeting of WGNEW should only be considered after a Small Scale Project to make data on WGNEW species available has been carried out. Such a Project is currently foreseen for the second half of 2007 or the first half of 2008 at the earliest. The third and probably last meeting of WGNEW could then be held late 2008.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee