Management AdviceManagement considerations
Both species are caught in mixed fisheries targeting demersal fish including southern hake, anglerfish and Nephrops
. Management measures aimed at reducing fishing mortality on these stocks should also ensure lowest possible catches of megrim.
The two species are managed under a common TAC. They are caught and recorded together in the landings statistics. It is impossible to manage each species separately under a common TAC. This problem is highlighted by the different status of the two stocks. L. whiffiagonis
(the stock in poor status) constitutes around 20% of the total megrim landings.
The spatial distribution of the two stocks shows some differences that could be utilized for separate management of the two stocks. Megrim (L. whiffiagonis
) is distributed in both Divisions (VIIIc and IXa), with its highest abundance in Division VIIIc. Four-spotted megrim (L. boscii
) is distributed in both Divisions (VIIIc and IXa). There is a certain bathymetric segregation between the two species. L. boscii
has a preferential depth range of 100 to 450 m and L. whiffiagoni
s of 50 to 300 m.
The perception of the L. whiffiagonis
stock has changed compared to the last assessment in 2007. For L. whiffiagonis
SSB in recent years is now estimated to be lower than it was in 2007, and recruitment continues to be very low. Therefore strong measures should be taken to improve the stock status.
Discards of megrim are substantial. For L. whiffiagonis
between 15 % and 45 % of the total catches in numbers are discarded. In the last two years discards of this stock are very low, providing a further indication of low recruitment. For L. boscii
between 40 % and 62 % of the total catches in numbers are discarded.
Landings in 2007 and 2008 have been below the TAC.
TACs for combined megrim stocks have not been restrictive, and the fishing mortality of both stock are above candidates for FMSY
. Following the EU Commission consultation paper on TACs for 2010 (COM(2009) 224, 12 May 2009), this corresponds to a TAC reduction of 36%. ICES has not evaluated the proposed option in relation to the precautionary approach.