A complete overview of fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic

New fisheries overview published for the Faroes ecoregion.
Published: 1 December 2021

​ICES has released a new Fisheries Overview for the Faroes​ ecoregion.

​​​​In 2017, ICES published the first Fisheries Overviews for the Greater North Sea and Baltic Sea ecoregions. In four years, our portfolio has expanded and now covers all eleven ICES ecoregions in the Northeast Atlantic (Baltic Sea, Barents Sea, Bay of Biscay and Iberian Coast ecoregion, Celtic Seas, ​​​Greater North Sea, Icelandic Waters, Norwegian Sea, Greenland Sea, Azores, Oceanic Northeast, and, the latest, the Faroes ecoregion).

Faroes ecoregion

​​​​In this ecoregion, Faroese vessels carry out the majority of fishing, with many of these participating in a mixed fishery for demersal fish, such as cod, haddock, saithe, ling, greater silver smelt, and Greenland halibut. The Faroe Islands government manages most stocks but management of some shared stocks by the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) or by coastal state agreements allows vessels from Norway, Iceland, EU, UK, Greenland, and Russian Federation to fish within the Faroese EEZ.

What are Fisheries Overviews?

Fisheries overviews provide summaries of the fishing activity and impacts across ICES ecoregions. Each overview gives a historical perspective and landings over time since the 1950s, but also include contemporary information on national fleets, recent fishing effort trends, the composition of their catches, and the gears and methods used.

The overviews also highlight the current status of resources and longer term trends, including information on stocks relative to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach. 

The wider effects of fishing activity on the ecosystem are also described – such as trawling's impact on the seabed, and bycatch of other fish species and protected seabird and marine mammal species.  This marks a move by ICES to align its fisheries advice to conform to both the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which is the umbrella legislation for the EU marine environmental standards.

Mixed fisheries

​Mixed fisheries present a challenge for sustainable management of individual fish stocks. Fisheries managers and stakeholders need to understand the various interactions: Which species are being caught, by whom, in which areas, and using which type of gear? The development of mixed-fisheries considerations answers this need: various trade-offs associated with moving from single stock management to mixed fisheries management are explored through various scenarios.

In 2021, mixed-fisheries consideration are provided for four ecoregions: Celtic Seas, Greater North SeaIberian Waters, and the Bay of Biscay

A bigger picture 

"The overviews are for anyone with an interest in fisheries or management in the respective sea regions",  explains Mark Dickey-Collas, Chair of ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM) , "ICES single stock advice addresses how much you can take from a certain stock in the following year in accordance with the agreed management objectives, but it doesn't say anything about how they are being taken, by whom, and how this impacts the ecosystem. Our Fisheries Overviews address this by ecoregion while the Ecosystem Overviews put the fishing activities into the context of the trends and status of the marine ecosystem as a whole". 

Find all ICES Fisheries Overviews​ online​.

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A complete overview of fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic

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