A decline in predators coupled with an increase in fishing effort and efficiency has meant that landings of Crangon crangon (brown shrimp) have increased steadily since the 1970s.
Currently, the C. crangon fishery in the North Sea is largely unregulated. However, Germany and the Netherlands have requested that ICES provide advice on the potential need for a management of the C. crangon fishery in this area. The advice delivered today by ICES advice presents the pros and cons of implementing a management system for the brown shrimp fishery. Within this advice ICES has considered the role of C. crangon in the ecosystem and the food web, as well as the impact of this fishery on other species and fisheries.
There are indications that the increased fishing effort has led to growth overfishing of the target species. One consequence of this is that shrimp are being harvested at a suboptimal average size. Implementing a sustainable management system should include the avoidance of this growth overfishing. Further benefits include a potential increase in the sustainable yield, a decrease in costs associated with fishing, and a reduction of the environmental impacts of the fishery.
The main drawback of any management system is the creation of additional tasks for managers, control authorities, scientists, and most likely for the fishermen and their producers organisations.
ICES has suggested a 6-step roadmap to develop a Harvest Control Rule and to facilitate its possible implementation for management.
Because of the short life span of C. crangon, the proposed management system operates on a shorter time scale than the common annual interval and will require more data at a higher temporal resolution than presently available.
Read the full advice on the ICES website.
Crangon crangon (dorsal). Photo: Hans Hillewaert