Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Herring - Celtic Sea and South of Ireland
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
ICES Advice 2012
Herring - Celtic Sea and South of Ireland
Fact Sheet Citation  
Herring in Divisions VIIa South of 52° 30’ N and VIIg,h,j,k (Celtic Sea and South of Ireland)
Owned byInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) – More
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FAO Names: en - Atlantic herring, fr - Hareng de l'Atlantique, es - Arenque del Atlántico, ru - Сельдь атлантическая
Geographic extent of Herring - Celtic Sea and South of Ireland
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 rateBelow targetModerate fishing mortality
Abundance levelUndefinedUncertain/Not assessed

The current assessment shows SSB at the highest level since the 1960s. F is well below FMSY but has increased slightly in 2011. There are three recent strong year classes (2003/4, 2005/6, and 2007/8) in the fishery. The 2008–2009 year classes also look above average.
Habitat and Biology
Depth zone: Shelf (50 m - 200 m).   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

This stock can be divided into autumn and winter spawning components. Spawning begins in October and can continue until February. A proportion of this stock, mainly juveniles is present in the Irish Sea and return to spawn in the Celtic Sea. The spawning grounds for herring in the Celtic Sea are located inshore close to the coast and consist of either gravel or flat stone. Spawning and nursery areas are sensitive and vulnerable to anthropogenic influences. Gravel extraction or disturbance in the close vicinity of any herring spawning will disturb that spawning activity and will reduce the available area for successful spawning.

Environmental influence on the stock

Temperatures in this area have been increasing over the last number of decades, and indications are that salinity is also increasing. Recruitment in this stock has fluctuated widely; although studies to date have not been able to demonstrate any relationship to environmental changes.
Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Shared between nations

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional

Ecoregion: Celtic Seas.
Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: Yes

The fisheries

There has been considerable efficiency creep in the fishery since the 1980s with a greater ability to locate fish. Under the current management regime the quality of the catch data has improved. Discards have become an increasing feature of the fishery in the last two years due to the quota management system.
Catch distribution Total landings (2011/2012): 11.47 kt of which 100% caught by pelagic trawl.

Effects of the fisheries on the ecosystem

The human consumption fisheries for herring are considered relatively clean, with little bycatch of other fish.
Scientific Advice

ICES advises on the basis of the MSY approach that landings in 2013 should be no more than 19 000 t

ICES advises that activities that impact on the seabed should not take place in spawning grounds unless they can be shown not to have a negative impact on spawning, larval production or stock dynamics.
Overall Assessment Results
Figure Herring in Divisions VIIa (South of 52°30’ N) and VIIg,h,j,k (Celtic Sea and South of Ireland). Summary of stock assessment. Estimates are shaded. Top right: F and SSB over the time-series in the assessment.
Assessment Model

Quality consideration

There is a large uncertainty in estimation of 1-ringers. As these contribute to the SSB (50% mature) this influences estimates and forecasts. There is uncertainty in the 2010 acoustic survey due to the substitution of the sounder frequency from 38 kHz to 18 kHz.

Improved information on discards is required as this is understood to have become a feature of this fishery in recent years. Greater understanding is required on the extent to which Celtic Sea herring is present in the Irish Sea.
Figure Herring in Division VIIa South of 52°30’ N and VIIg,h,j,k (Celtic Sea and South of Ireland). Historical assessment results (final year predicted SSB and recruitment estimates included).

Scientific basis

Assessment type Age-based analytical assessment (FLICA).
Input data Acoustic survey index (CSHAS); catch-at-age data.
Discards and bycatch Discarding has become a feature of this fishery since 2010 but is not included in the assessment.
Indicators None.
Other information Celtic Sea and Division VIIj herring are assessed on a seasonal basis, 1st April to 31st March, to allow for the inclusion of the spawning cycle in the assessment period.
Working group report HAWG
Management unit: Yes

Management plans

A long-term management plan has been agreed by the Irish industry in 2011 (Annex 5.4.16). This plan has a target F=0.23 and a 30% constraint in TAC change. This plan results in a TAC of 17 200 t for 2013. ICES has been requested to evaluate the plan in 2012. A rebuilding plan has been in place since 2009 although it has not yet been formally adopted in law (Annex 5.4.16). The target F is equal to 0.19 and no TAC constraint applies. The rebuilding plan implies a TAC of 14 500 t in 2012.
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. Herring in Divisions VIIa South of 52°30’ N and VIIg,h,j,k (Celtic Sea and South of Ireland). Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2012. ICES Advice, June 2012. Click to open
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