International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
WKRRMAC Report 2019.pdf (1.7 MB)

Workshop on a research roadmap for mackerel (WKRRMAC)

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posted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by ICESICES

Fisheries managers, researchers and fishers participated in the ICES Workshop on a Research Roadmap for Mackerel (WKRRMAC) co-chaired by Carl O’Brien (UK) and Mark Dickey-Collas (ICES) at its meeting held in Bremerhaven, Germany on 7–9 May 2019. The main aim of the workshop was to produce a roadmap for the delivery of future research needs for the manage-ment of fisheries on mackerel in the Northeast Atlantic. The fishery is one of the biggest in the North Atlantic, with first sale value over €1 billion, and recent catches of approximately 1 million tonnes.

The workshop was convened to address the challenges to the evidence base for the provision of ICES advice and took place against a backdrop of another revision to the fishing opportunities advice which resulted from an inter-benchmark review of the performance of the stock assess-ment model earlier in 2019. The output of the workshop is a list of suggested further research and methods intended to improve the evidence base for the fisheries management of mackerel. The list is pragmatic and operational; and addresses the data and knowledge needs and the re-sourcing.

Participants had to consider the trade-offs between resourcing and the quality of science. The time-line for the proposed research and application of the findings is the next 3-5 years. The workshop felt that either a reapportioning of resources or an increase in resources was necessary to improve the science evidence base. Greater industry/science partnerships were seen as important approaches to improving the evidence base. Overall, ICES needs improve the quality assurance of ICES assessments, forecasts and advice.

The workshop felt that the development of new ideas to support research and fisheries advice for Northeast Atlantic mackerel should be explored. There is a need for an analysis of what key skills/expertise is missing from the research community. Various models to invest in expertise were discussed including industry funded research positions and industry/academic partner-ships.

This workshop report should be considered the Chairs’ summary and synopsis of the workshop but the text has been written in a manner to highlight where issues had full support of all participants, and where some only partial support.

The key recommendations of the workshop were:

1. Explore new funding mechanisms of research for the management the fishery and invest and better coordinate building fisheries science expertise.

2. Evaluate management and advisory mechanisms that will result in more robust, quality assured advice on optimised yield (the trade-off between MSY and stability in TAC).

3. Explore which surveys contribute the strongest signal into the stock assessment, and reconcile survey information.

4. Where relevant, explore expanding existing surveys to seasons and areas they currently do not cover.

5. Extend the winter acoustic survey time series and contribute ship time and researchers to these efforts.

6. Build mechanisms to incorporate industry sampling of biological information into the formal stock assessment process and develop approaches for formalising the flow of in-formation of industry perceptions of the state of the stock into the assessment process.

7. Develop credible methods for industry surveys.


Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee

  • FRSG

Published under the auspices of the following ICES Expert Group or Strategic Initiative



ICES Scientific Reports





Contributors (Editors)

Mark Dickey-Collas; Carl O’Brien



Recommended citation

ICES. 2019. Workshop on a Research Roadmap for Mackerel (WKRRMAC). ICES Scientific Reports. 1:48. 23 pp.