Ecosystem overviews

Celtic Seas Ecoregion

State of fish, shellfish, and cephalopods


The Celtic Sea groundfish community consists of over a hundred species, but the 25 most abundant of these account for 99 percent of the total estimated biomass. The most abundant species are haddock, whiting, and pout Trisopterus spp. Common flatfish species in this ecoregion include dab Limanda limanda, plaice Pleuronectes platessa, and several species of sole and megrim. Pelagic fish species along the shelf edge are boarfish, blue whiting, mackerel, and horse mackerel while Mueller’s pearlside Maurolicus muelleri, glacial lantern fish Benthosema glaciale, and lancet fish Alepisauridae are the dominant mesopelagic species. These pelagic and mesopelagic species are important parts of the foodweb in this ecoregion and changes in their abundance can have significant consequences for the marine food chain. Trends in fishing pressure and stock size are presented in the ‘Selective extraction of species’ section.​


The most abundant cephalopod species in the area are long-finned squid Loligo forbesi and southern shortfin squid Illex coindetii, which are mainly found close to the shelf break, while Alloteuthis subulata is a common species found in coastal waters. The main exploited species is the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. ​

Fish and shellfish species that are threatened or declining in the Celtic Seas ecosystem according to OSPAR

Alosa alosa Allis shad
Anguilla anguilla European eel
Centroscymnus coelolepis Portuguese dogfish
Centrophorus granulosus Gulper shark
Centrophorus squamosus Leafscale gulper shark
Cetorhinus maximus Basking shark
Dipturus batis (synonym: Raja batis) Common skate
Raja montagui (synonym: Dipturus montagui) Spotted ray
Gadus morhua Cod
Hippocampus guttulatus (synonym: Hippocampus ramulosus)
Long-snouted seahorse
Hippocampus hippocampus Short-snouted seahorse
Hoplostethus atlanticus Orange roughy
Lamna nasus Porbeagle
Petromyzon marinus Sea lamprey
Raja clavata Thornback skate / ray
Rostroraja alba White skate
Salmo salar Salmon
Squalus acanthias [Northeast Atlantic] spurdog
Squatina squatina Angel shark
Thunnus thynnus Bluefin tuna​
Arctica islandica Ocean quahog
Nucella lapillus Dog whelk
Ostrea edulis Flat oyster
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Celtic Seas Ecoregion

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