Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Whiting - Skagerrak and Kattegat
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
ICES Advice 2012
Whiting - Skagerrak and Kattegat
Fact Sheet Citation  
Whiting in Division IIIa (Skagerrak - Kattegat)
Owned byInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Whiting, fr - Merlan, es - Plegonero, ru - Мерланг
Geographic extent of Whiting - Skagerrak and Kattegat
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: Yes        Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2012
Biological State and Trend
State & Trend Descriptors
Exploitation rateUndefinedUncertain/Not assessed
Abundance levelUndefinedUncertain/Not assessed
Habitat and Biology
Depth zone: Shelf (50 m - 200 m).   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Whiting are a major prey component of the diet of many piscivorous fish and marine mammals. The spatial distribution of whiting in the neighboring North Sea is considered to have changed over the last decade. This may represent a contraction to a sub-stock structure coinciding with the main spawning areas in the North Sea. Spawning occurs from January to July at 30–100 m depth. Whiting attain sexual maturity at age 2–3 yrs (28–30 cm). Maximal recorded length 70 cm, maximal age 20 yrs.
Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Shared between nations

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional

Ecoregion: North Sea
Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

The fisheries

Whiting are taken as bycatch in the demersal fisheries, which mostly are discarded. ICES estimates of discards are 794 tonnes in 2011 which is three times higher than last year’s estimate.
Catch distribution Total catches (2011) 906.9 t comprising 7.6% landings, 88.6% discards and 4.8% industrial bycatch

Scientific Advice

Based on the ICES approach for data limited stocks, ICES advises that catches should be no more than 500 tonnes.

This is the first year that ICES is providing quantitative advice for data limited stocks (see Quality considerations).
Overall Assessment Results
Figure Whiting in Division IIIa (Skagerrak – Kattegat). Total landings (weights in tonnes). Estimated discards are included from 2003 to the present. Quality considerations

Information on stock structure in IIIa and improvements on age reading are needed to be able to perform an assessment. Currently, the available survey indices show a lack of internal consistency which hinders development of an analytical assessment.

The advice is based on a precautionary reduction of catches because of missing or non-representative data.
Assessment Model

Scientific basis

Assessment type No analytical assessment is performed.
Discards and bycatch Discards estimates provided by Denmark and Sweden.
Indicators Catch statistics and age based indices from surveys.
Other information None
Working group report WGNSSK
Management unit: Yes

Management plans

No specific management objectives are known to ICES.
Source of information

The above excerpts are from the first two pages of the ICES advice, the supporting information to this advice can be read in full at the following reference:
ICES. Whiting in Division IIIa (Skagerrak – Kattegat). Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2012. ICES Advice, WGNSSK 2012. Click to open
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