Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Sole - Western Channel
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
ICES Advice 2012
Sole - Western Channel
Fact Sheet Citation  
Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel)
Owned byInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) – More
Related observationsLocate in inventorydisplay tree map
FAO Names: en - Common sole, fr - Sole commune, es - Lenguado común, zh - 欧洲鳎
Geographic extent of Sole - Western Channel
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

The significant reduction of F in 2009 reflects the reduction in fishing effort. SSB has been around MSY Btrigger for about two decades, with an increase since 2009. Recruitment has been fluctuating without trend.
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

The principal gears used for this stock are beam trawls, otter trawls, and gillnets. Sole is the target species of an offshore beam trawl fleet, which is concentrated off the southern Cornish and Devon coasts. This fishery also takes substantial catches of plaice, anglerfish, lemon sole, and cuttlefish. Otter trawlers and gillnetters take sole mainly as a bycatch fishery, and a targeted fishery at spawning time. Discarding of sole is considered small.
Catch distribution

Landings in 2011 were 801 t (52% beam, 16% otter, 8% gillnets, 3% dredge, and 21% other gear (mostly caught by the above gears, but not available separately by all countries)

Total catch (2011) was 810 kt, where 99% were landings, 1% discards, and no industrial bycatch or unaccounted removals.

Effects of the fisheries on the ecosystem

Beam trawling, especially using chain-mat gear, is known to have a significant impact on the benthic communities, although less so on soft substrates. Discard rates of non-commercial species and commercial species of unmarketable size are substantial. Some beam trawlers are experimenting with benthic drop-out panels that release about 75% of benthic invertebrates from the catches. Full square mesh codends are being tested in order to reduce the capture of benthos further and improve the selection profile of gadoids.
Scientific Advice

ICES advises on the basis of the MSY framework that landings in 2013 should be less than 960 tonnes.
Overall Assessment Results
Figure Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel). Summary of stock assessment. Predicted recruitment values are shaded. Top right: SSB and F for the time-series from the assessment.
Assessment Model

Quality consideration

The new assessment methodology has produced a significantly improved assessment with respect to the biases experienced previously, and with little loss in precision. The balance of the various information sources as characterized by the assessment weights indicate a more robust approach. Some differences in the trends from different information sources do indicate the potential for some retrospective bias returning to the assessment in the future. However, management in the form of the current management plan is stable and apparently robust to the remaining uncertainties in the assessment.
Figure Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel). Historical assessment results (final-year recruitment estimate included). Note that the age range for F changed from 3–7 to 3–9 in 2009.

Scientific basis

Assessment type Age-based analytical assessment (XSA).
Input data Commercial catch-at-age data, three survey indices (UK-WEC-BTS, UK-FSP, Q1SWBeam), and three commercial tuning fleets (UK-CBTearly, UK-CBTlate, and UK-COT).
Discards and bycatch Not relevant (low discards) to the assessment.
Indicators Western Channel sole and plaice FSP survey.
Other information Stock benchmarked in 2012 (WKFLAT).
Working group report WGCSE
Management unit: Yes

Management plans

Council Regulation (EC. No. 509/2007) establishes a multiannual plan for the sustainable exploitation of Division VIIe sole. This results in a TAC of 896 t in 2013. This plan has not been evaluated by 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. Sole in Division VIIe (Western Channel). Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2012. ICES Advice, June 2012. Click to open
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