Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Whiting - West European Basin
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
ICES Advice 2012
Whiting - West European Basin
Fact Sheet Citation  
Whiting in Divisions VIIe-k
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 - West European Basin
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 rateAppropriateModerate fishing mortality
Abundance levelAbove triggerIntermediate abundance

Spawning-stock biomass has been increasing and is well above MSYBtrigger. Fishing mortality has shown a declining trend since 2007 and is now below FMSY. There have been two above average recruitments (2008 and 2009) entering the fishery and spawning stock.
Habitat and Biology
Depth zone: Shelf (50 m - 200 m).   Vertical distribution: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Shared between nations

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional

Ecoregion: Celtic Sea and West of Scotland
Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

The fisheries

Celtic Sea whiting are taken in mixed species fisheries. Discard rates are very high (mainly ages 1 and 2) due to the low market value of this species, particularly for smaller sizes. Otter trawlers are the primary gear associated with whiting landings from the Celtic Sea.
Catch distribution Total Landings (2011) were 8.6 kt where an estimated additional 5.7 kt was discarded. Preliminary figures suggest 85% of the total international catch discards are from the otter trawl fleets, 1% seiners, <1% beam trawlers and 14% others.
Scientific Advice

ICES advises based on MSY approach that landings in 2013 should be no more than 17 500 tonnes. Technical measures should be introduced to reduce discard rates in fisheries catching whiting.
Overall Assessment Results
Figure Whiting in Divisions VIIe–k. Summary of stock trends assessment. Predicted recruitment values are shaded. Top right: SSB/F for the time-series used in the assessment.
Assessment Model

Quality consideration

The main quality consideration is the non-inclusion of discard data in the assessment, the lack of update of the French commercial lpue series since 2009 is an additional uncertainty.

There is a need for all countries to provide discard estimates of whiting raised to fleet level for inclusion in future assessments after a benchmark procedure.

Scientific basis

Assessment type Age based analytical assessment (XSA).
Input data 3 survey indices (EVHOE-WIBTS-Q4, IGFS-WIBTS-Q4, and UKWCGFS). 2 commercial indices (FR-Gadoid, FR-Nephrops) up to 2008.
Discards and bycatch Not included in the assessment.
Indicators None.
Other information None.
Working group report WGCSE
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 Divisions VIIe–k. Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2012. ICES Advice, June 2012. Click to open
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