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Northeast Atlantic Blue whiting fisheries
Fishery  Fact Sheet
Management report 2017
Northeast Atlantic Blue whiting fisheries
Fact Sheet Citation  
Blue Whiting
Owned byNorth-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) – more>>

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Overview: The main pelagic stocks in the NEAFC Regulatory Area are exploited by large trawlers-purse seiners from all the Contracting Parties of NEAFC. The fleets move with the season between the three main stocks and the waters under national jurisdiction and the Regulatory Area. Consultations on conservation and management are held by the relevant coastal States for areas under national jurisdiction and by NEAFC for the high seas. Conservation and management measures adopted by NEAFC take account of any coastal State agreement. Scientific advice is provided by ICES. NEAFC is not involved in any scientific work. The NEAFC Contracting Parties have stressed that they consider it important to maintain a “clear separation between the scientific role of ICES and the policy and management role of NEAFC” (see report of the 2015 Extraordinary Meeting of NEAFC http://www.neafc.org/system/files/EM-2015-Report-final.pdf). This NEAFC fact sheet will therefore not comment on scientific work or scientific assessments. The ICES advice on which the latest NEAFC conservation and management measures are based can be found on the ICES website (http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/whb-comb.pdf). In recent years, there have been difficulties in reaching an agreement on allocation among the coastal States, and thereby on allocation among the NEAFC Contracting Parties. This has resulted in conservation and management measures not being comprehensive. There has been agreement on the level of total allowable catches but not on the sharing arrangements for allocating the catches among the parties.

Location of Northeast Atlantic Blue whiting fisheries
 

Geographic reference:  Northeast Atlantic
Spatial Scale: Regional
Reference year: 2016
Approach: Fishery Management Unit

Jurisdictional framework
Management Body/Authority(ies): North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
Mandate: Management; Monitoring;
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Area of Competence: NEAFC area of competence

Harvested Resource
Target Species: Blue whiting(=Poutassou)
Fishery Area: Northeast Atlantic; Barents Sea (Subarea 27.1); Norwegian Sea, …; Skagerrak, Kattegat, …; North Sea (Subarea 27.4);
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Harvested Resource
Type of production system: Industrial   

Fishery Area
Climatic zone: Temperate; Polar.   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geo References for: Northeast Atlantic
Fleet segment
The main pelagic stocks in the NEAFC Regulatory Area are exploited by large trawlers-purse seiners from all the Contracting Parties of NEAFC. The fleets move with the season between the three main stocks and the waters under national jurisdiction and the Regulatory Area.
Seasonality
All year round.
Ecosystem Assessment
 
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF FISHERIES

The fisheries are not conducted by vessel using bottom contacting gear.

There are not significant levels of bycatches in the fisheries.

NEAFC’s request to ICES for scientific advice reads in part as follows:

”The recurring advice shall include information on the state of marine ecosystems and human impacts including historical developments in main parameters and information on the present state and recent development of stocks. The recurrent advice shall provide information on state of stocks and fisheries including - when available - historical developments in spawning stock biomass, total stock biomass, fishing mortality as well as landings and discards in the NEAFC regulatory area and within EEZs.”

“When providing its advice regarding fisheries ICES shall take account of all available information and the context of fisheries management including information from the fishing industry, ecosystem considerations, environment and hydrographical conditions, regulations in force that affect fisheries, factors affecting fishing operations and information about the fisheries, development of fisheries technology and relevant performance changes and other relevant factors that affect fishing or fish stocks.”

“If agreed management plans or recovery plans exist which ICES does not consider in accordance with the criteria defined in the NEAFC Convention or if no agreed management plans exist, ICES shall advice on management measures (including options for management plans) which ICES finds in accordance with the NEAFC Convention. If significantly different, the advice shall be given separately for a risk avoidance approach, based on the Precautionary Approach, and an MSY approach within the limitations of the Precautionary Approach. The short term implications of such measures shall be provided.”

“The advice shall be based on an ecosystem approach. This will be implemented incrementally so that any information on the interactions between fisheries, the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem is considered and incorporated in the advice as it becomes available; specifically, taking ecosystem and environmental considerations into account when providing the recurring advice mentioned above, ICES will:

  1. Assess the extent to which fishing disturbs the marine ecosystems and, where reference levels have been established, compare the impact to the reference level chosen.
  2. Provide any new information regarding the impact of fisheries on other components of the ecosystem including small cetaceans and other marine mammals, sea birds and sensitive habitats.
  3. Inform NEAFC of any notable impact of other factors on and imbalances in ecosystem structure that may prejudice the stocks of commercially valuable species and its long term exploitation;
  4. Propose reference points as guidance for management purposes in an ecosystem context.


ICES will in addition give warnings of any serious threats from fishing activities alone or in conjunction with any other relevant activity to local ecosystems or species as soon as ICES is aware of such threats.”

The full request for advice is available on the NEAFC website (https://www.neafc.org/system/files/AM-2016-80-Rev.1_Request-to-ICES-for-advice%20final.pdf).
Management
Management unit: Yes

Jurisdictional framework
The fishery is regulated under NEAFC jurisdictional framework / management regime as reported in the Northeast Atlantic - NEAFC high seas fisheries.
Management Body/Authority(ies): North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC)
Area of Competence: NEAFC area of competence
Mandate: Management; Monitoring; Control and surveillance.  
NEAFC Regulatory Area. Based on NEAFC VMS database. Prepared by Dr Jason Hall-Spencer.
Related Fisheries - Management System
Northeast Atlantic NEAFC high seas fisheries

Fisheries for blue whiting in 2017 are managed through legally binding conservation and management measures adopted by NEAFC, Recommendation 2/2017 (https://www.neafc.org/system/files/Rec.2%20-%20Blue-Whiting.pdf). These measures are based on an agreement among the coastal States, which applies to areas under national jurisdiction.

The management is based on setting total allowable catches as 1 342 330 tonnes for 2017. This is in accordance with the scientific advice from ICES, which can be found on the ICES website (http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/whb-comb.pdf).

In 2016 ICES also provided advice on a long-term management strategy for the fisheries on the blue whiting, which had been formulated by the coastal States. The ICES advice was that it was the strategy “is precautionary given the ICES estimates of Blim (1.5 million t), Bpa (2.25 million t), and FMSY (0.32).” (http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/Special_Requests/NEAFC_Blue_whiting_LTM_strategy_evaluation.pdf).

NEAFC’s Permanent Committee on Monitoring and Compliance reports annually to the NEAFC Commission on compliance by the Contracting Parties with Recommendations adopted by NEAFC. The latest such compliance report, relating to the year 2015, can be found on the NEAFC website (https://www.neafc.org/system/files/AM-2016-50_Compliance-Report-2015_final.pdf).
History
All previous conservation and management measures can be found on the NEAFC website (https://www.neafc.org/managing_fisheries/measures/historic).
Status of Management
Assessment Summary
Scientific advice is provided by ICES. NEAFC is not involved in any scientific work. The NEAFC Contracting Parties have stressed that they consider it important to maintain a “clear separation between the scientific role of ICES and the policy and management role of NEAFC” (see report of the 2015 Extraordinary Meeting of NEAFC http://www.neafc.org/system/files/EM-2015-Report-final.pdf). This NEAFC fact sheet will therefore not comment on scientific work or scientific assessments. The ICES advice on which the latest NEAFC conservation and management measures are based can be found on the ICES website (http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/whb-comb.pdf).
Resources Assessed
Assessment advice provided by ICES: Blue whiting - Northeast Atlantic
Negotiation Process
Consultations on conservation and management are held by the relevant coastal States for areas under national jurisdiction and by NEAFC for the high seas. Conservation and management measures adopted by NEAFC take account of any coastal State agreement.
Management Resolutions
Fisheries for blue whiting in 2017 are managed through legally binding conservation and management measures adopted by NEAFC, Recommendation 2/2017 (https://www.neafc.org/system/files/Rec.2%20-%20Blue-Whiting.pdf). These measures are based on an agreement among the coastal States, which applies to areas under national jurisdiction.

The management is based on setting total allowable catches as 1 342 330 tonnes for 2017. This is in accordance with the scientific advice from ICES, which can be found on the ICES website (http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/whb-comb.pdf).
Management Problems
In recent years, there have been difficulties in reaching an agreement on allocation among the coastal States, and thereby on allocation among the NEAFC Contracting Parties. This has resulted in conservation and management measures not being comprehensive. There has been agreement on the level of total allowable catches but not on the sharing arrangements for allocating the catches among the parties.
Management Regime
Management Methods

CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT MEASURES - Binding

This fishery is regulated by TACs and allocations, although there have been difficulties in reaching an agreement on the latter in recent years.

COMPLIANCE MEASURES - Binding

The fishery is monitored and controlled according to the NEAFC Scheme of Control and Enforcement (https://www.neafc.org/scheme/contents). This includes inter alia a vessel monitoring system, regular catch reporting, inspections at sea and port state control.
Source of Information
 
Information provided by the NEAFC Secretariat.
Sources referred to in this fact sheet are (in the order they are referred to):report of the 2015 Extraordinary Meeting of NEAFC. Click to openhttp://www.neafc.org/system/files/EM-2015-Report-final.pdf
ICES advice on which the latest NEAFC conservation and management measures are based. Click to openhttp://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/whb-comb.pdf
Recommendation 2/2017 on Conservation and Management Measures for Blue Whiting in the NEAFC Regulatory Area for 2017. Click to openhttps://www.neafc.org/system/files/Rec.2%20-%20Blue-Whiting.pdf
The 2016 ICES advice on a long-term management strategy for the fisheries on blue whiting. Click to openhttp://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/Special_Requests/NEAFC_Blue_whiting_LTM_strategy_evaluation.pdf
Historic conservation and management measures adopted by NEAFC. Click to openhttps://www.neafc.org/managing_fisheries/measures/historic
The NEAFC Scheme of Control and Enforcement  Click to openhttps://www.neafc.org/scheme/contents
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