ICES fisheries overviews provide summaries of the fishing activity and impacts across the three 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.
In all of the ecoregions there has been a general improvement in stock status over the last decade with mean trends in most cases showing a decline in fishing mortality towards more sustainable levels.
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 challenge
Mixed fisheries present a challenge for sustainable management of individual fish stocks. Fisheries managers and stakeholders need to understand the various interactions; who is catching what species with what gears and in what areas.
The new Celtic Seas fisheries overview includes maps showing the spatial distribution of catches for some of the main species of commercial interest within the region. The “technical interactions" are also shown in more detail with catch composition by country, gear, target and species. Tradeoffs of moving from single stock management to mixed fisheries management are also explored through various scenarios.
A bigger picture
The three fisheries overviews follow the development of ICES ecosystem overviews that have been released for six ecoregions.
"ICES single stock advice address how much you can take of a stock next year in accordance with the agreed management objectives, but it doesn't say anything about how they are being taken, by whom and how it impacts the ecosystem. The fisheries overviews address this by ecoregion while ICES in the ecosystem overviews puts the fishing activities into the context of the trends and status of the marine ecosystem as a whole," explains the Chair of ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM) Mark Dickey-Collas.
"The overviews are for anyone with an interest in fisheries or management in the three respective sea regions."
Figures in the Celctic Seas fisheries overview show the spatial distribution of landings for certain species in the ecoregion.