Working Group for the Celtic Seas Ecoregion (WGCSE)
The Working Group for the Celtic Seas Ecoregion (WGCSE) performs stock assessments on demersal stocks in Rockall, West of Scotland, Irish Sea, West of Ireland, Western English Channel, Bristol Channel, Celtic Sea and Southwest of Ireland. The working group provides updated fisheries data and reviews for ten Nephrops stocks, four sole and plaice stocks, three cod and whiting stocks, three haddock stocks, two megrim, one seabass, one anglerfish and one pollack stock. For most of the stocks, advice is drafted in May for June release. Advice for Nephrops, anglerfish and Rockall megrim are not issued until autumn to take account of the 2021 survey information.
For a number of stocks (bss.27.6a7bj, cod.27.6b, ple.27.7bc, sol.27.7bc, whg.27.7a, nop.27.6a, whg.27.6b, nep.27.6aoutFU, nep.27.7outFU) no new advice was provided this year.
Two stocks have gone through a benchmark procedure in the past year; cod.27.7a, ple.27.7f-g. the results of which were presented to the group. Analytical assessments using age-structured models were conducted for 12 of the fish stocks. Surplus-production models, without age or length structure, were used to assess lez.27.4a6a and lez.27.6b, and a Depletion-Corrected Average Catch model to assess pol.27.67.
In 2022 the state of the five fish stocks for which no analytical assessment could be performed were inferred from application of Data-Limited Methods, using survey or biomass indices as indicators of stock development along with indications of stock status inferred from length indicators.
UWTV survey-based assessments were conducted for ten Nephrops stocks. Overall the stock status across the ecoregion show a decline in abundance to last year, with a reduction of circa 8 800 tonnes in finfish advice (mostly owing to reduction in Celtic sea haddock [had.27.7.b-k]; down 4,045 tonnes, and Celtic sea whiting [whg.27.7.b,c,e-k]; down 2737 tonnes), in the order of a 14% reduction on 2021 advice. Of the 22 assessed fish stocks, five stocks were fished above FMSY, ten below and seven stocks had unknown status relative to FMSY; 8 were above MSY Blim, and seven below Blim, with the status of seven unknown.
Of the eleven Nephrops stocks, catch advice saw an increase of circa 2 800 tonnes on 2021 advice (approximately 8%), with a range of Functional Unit increases and decreases.
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