No management objectives have been set for this stock. Due to the short-lived nature of this species a preliminary TAC is set every year, which is updated on the basis of advice in the first half of the year.
Management AdviceManagement considerations
Norway pout is a short-lived species. Recruitment is highly variable and influences SSB and TSB rapidly, due to the short life span of the species. With present fishing mortality levels, the status of the stock is mainly determined by natural processes and less by the fishery.
Historically, the fishery includes bycatches especially of haddock, whiting, saithe, and herring. Existing technical measures to protect these bycatch species should be maintained or improved. Bycatches of these species have been low in the recent decade. Studies have shown that sorting grids in combination with square mesh panels reduce bycatches of whiting and haddock by 57% and 37%, respectively (Eigaard and Holst, 2004; ICES 2006a ICES CM 2006/ACFM:35; Eigaard and Nielsen, 2009); ICES suggests that these devices should be brought into use in the fishery. The introduction of these technical measures should be followed up by adequate control measures to ensure effective implementation of the existing bycatch measures. The Norwegian fishery for Norway pout in 2009 has been extended to the 1st of November provided the use of sorting grids.
Despite opening of the fishery by 1st January 2008 (with preliminary EU quota of 36 500 t and a Norwegian quota of 4 750 t as well as a final EU quota of 110 000 t set late in 2008) only 36 100 t was taken in total. Based on the assumed average 2008 recruitment ICES in May 2009 advised a TAC on 157 000 t for 2009. An initial EU quota of 26 000 t and a Norwegian quota of 1 000 t for by-catch was set for the first half year 2009. Catches in 1st half of 2009 amount to only 4 200 t, which was dominated by Norwegian by-catch (3 700 t) in the mixed blue whiting and Norway pout fishery. The final TAC for 2009 was set at 157 000 t (following the escapement strategy) of which 117 300 t (app. 75%) is EU quota.
The catch forecast for 2010 assumes status quo fisheries in 2009, with catches of 45 000 t. This is well below the quota for 2009 (157 000 t). In case the quota are fully taken in 2009 this will result in lower catch forecasts for 2010 (226 000 t to reach Bpa by 2011).
There is bi-annual information available to perform real time monitoring and management of the stock. This can be carried out both with fishery independent and fishery dependent information as well as a combination of those. Real time advice (forecast) and management options for 2010 will be provided for the stock in spring 2010 as well.Management plan evaluations
No management plan has been agreed, but ICES has evaluated and commented on three management strategies, following requests from managers – fixed fishing mortality (0.35), fixed TAC (50 000 t), and a variable TAC escapement strategy. The evaluation shows that all three management strategies are capable of generating stock abundance that stay above Blim with a high probability in the long term and are therefore considered to be in accordance with the precautionary approach.
The choice between different strategies depends on the requirements that fisheries managers and stakeholders have regarding stability in catches or the overall level of the catches. The escapement strategy has a higher long-term yield compared to the fixed fishing mortality strategy, but at the cost of a substantially higher probability of having closures in the fishery. If the continuity of the fishery is an important property, then the fixed F (equivalent to fixed effort) strategy will perform better.
Under a fixed F-management-strategy with F around 0.35 a catch of no more than 279 000 t can be taken in 2010. Under a fixed TAC strategy a TAC of 50 000 t can be taken in 2010 according to the long term management strategies for the stock. Impacts of fisheries on the ecosystems
Norway pout is an important prey species for a variety of fish species (e.g. saithe, haddock, and mackerel). Natural mortality levels by age and season used in the stock assessment do reflect the predation mortality levels estimated for this stock in the most recent multi-species stock assessment performed by ICES (ICES 2006b). Growth and mean weight-at-age for the above-mentioned predators seems independent of the stock size of Norway pout.
Historically, the fishery includes bycatches especially of haddock, whiting, saithe, and herring. Bycatches of these species have been low in the recent decade.