There are no explicit management objectives for this stock.
Management AdviceManagement considerations
The high natural mortality of sandeel and the few year classes in the fishery make the stock size and catch opportunities largely dependent on the size of the incoming year classes.
If a real-time management using an escapement strategy is applied in 2010, the escapement target should be defined so that the SSB reaches at least Bpa
in 2011. Fishing grounds that are known to be commercially depleted should be closed to fishing until there is evidence that local populations have recovered.
ICES recommends that future management should take account of the spatial structure of sandeels. Sandeel management in the North Sea is based on the assumption that there is a single stock when there is strong evidence of a number of spatially distinct (sub-)stocks. The full stock structure of sandeel in the North Sea, however, remains unclear. It is known that (sub-)stocks on the Viking/Bergen Banks, in the western North Sea off Scotland, and the (separately-managed) Shetland stock are all distinct. The present knowledge on defining (sub-)stocks off south-western Norway and in the southern North Sea is too limited to recommend specific management measures for 2010 which can take the full stock structure into account. Impacts of fisheries on the ecosystems
Local depletion of sandeel aggregations at a distance less than 100 km from seabird colonies may affect some species of birds, especially black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla
) and sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis
), whereas the more mobile marine mammals and fish may be less vulnerable to local sandeel depletion. In the light of studies linking low sandeel availability to poor breeding success of kittiwake, all commercial fishing in the Firth of Forth area has been prohibited since 2000, except for a short-term fishery in May and June of each year for stock monitoring purposes.
A major function of sandeels in the North Sea ecosystem is the provision of food to predators, including fish, marine mammals, and seabirds. The management objectives should ensure that the stock remains high enough to provide food for predator species and prevent depletion of local aggregations, particularly in areas of predator concentration. The sandeel fishery in the area off the Scottish coast that was closed to sandeel fishery in 2000, should continue to be closed in 2010 in view of the current low productivity of the sandeel (sub-)stock in this area and to provide, as far as possible, a food supply to dependent predators. In other areas of the North Sea, avoidance of depletion at a local scale will help take account of the function of sandeels in the ecosystem.