Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System

Redfish - Flemish Cap
Fact Sheet Title  Fact Sheet
Stocks management recommendations 2021
Redfish - Flemish Cap
Fact Sheet Citation  
Redfish in Div. 3M
Owned byNorthwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) – ownership
ident Blockident Blockdisplay tree map
Species List:
Species Ref: en - Atlantic redfishes nei, fr - Sébastes de l'Atlantique nca, es - Gallinetas del Atlántico nep, ru - Окуни морские
ident Block Redfish - Flemish Cap
Aq Res
Biological Stock: Yes         Value: Regional
Management unit: Yes        Reference year: 2020
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State Trend Aq Res State Trend
Aq Res State TrendNone-Low Fishing MortalityNo or low fishing mortalityGreen
Aq Res State TrendIntermediate Stock SizeIntermediate abundance

SSB has declined continuously from its highest level in 2014. After an extended period of declining recruitment, the recruitment estimate for 2020 is high but associated with high uncertainty, and its magnitude needs to be confirmed in future assessments. Fishing mortality remains relatively low compared to the 1980s and 1990s.
Habitat Bio
Climatic Zone: Temperate.   Bottom Type: Unspecified.   Depth Zone: Slope - Deepslope (500 m - 1000 m).   Horizontal Dist: Oceanic.   Vertical Dist: Demersal/Benthic.  

Geo Dist
Geo Dist: High Seas Purely

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Regional

Water Area Overview
Aq Res Struct
Biological Stock: Yes


Redfish is caught in directed bottom trawl fisheries at intermediate depths (300-700m), but also as bycatch in fisheries directed for cod and Greenland halibut. The fishery in NAFO Div. 3M is regulated by minimum mesh size and quota.

Effects of the fishery on the ecosystem

General impacts of fishing gears on the ecosystem should be considered. A large area of Div. 3M has been closed to protect sponge, seapens and coral.
Bio Assess
Ref Point

No reference points have been adopted.

Short term (2022-2024) stochastic projections were carried out for female spawning stock biomass (SSB) and catch, under most recent level of natural mortality and considering five options for fishing mortality (F0.1, F=M, Fstatusquo, 1.25 TAC and 0.75 TAC). Projections assume that redfish catches (all species) in 2021 are equal to the redfish TAC (Fstatusquo is defined as the corresponding F). Recruitment entering in 2021 to 2023 is given by the geometric mean of the most recent recruitments (age 4 XSA, 2017-2019).

In all projection scenarios, the SSB is projected to decline, and to be at around the average for the assessment time-series (since the late 1980s) by 2024.

Assess Models
Analytical assessment

Input data comes from the EU Flemish Cap bottom trawl survey and the fishery. A quantitative model (XSA) introduced in 2003 was used. Increased natural mortality was assumed from 2006 to 2010, but natural mortality was low (more typical of redfish) in other years. There is no evidence that natural mortality has increased recently from the level of 0.1 adopted in the 2017 assessment, and therefore, the 2021 XSA assessment was run with average M from 2015 onwards kept at 0.1.

The next full assessment of this stock will be in 2023.

Fishing Mortality



Human impact

Mainly fishery related mortality. Other sources (e.g. pollution, shipping, oil-industry) are undocumented.

Biological and environmental interactions

Since 2004 a rapid increase was observed on survey biomass both of golden (Sebastes marinus) and Acadian (Sebastes fasciatus) redfish stocks. Due to their shallower depth distributions these two redfish species overlap with cod to an extent greater than deep sea redfish (Sebastes mentella). Since 2006, the cod stock started to recover, while those two redfish stocks declined sharply. Redfish is an important component in the diet of cod, especially on those years when successful recruitment events were observed in redfish stocks.
Management unit: Yes


Recommendation for 2022 and 2023

SC advises that catches do not exceed F0.1 level, given the life history of the stock. This corresponds to a TAC of 10 933 t in 2022 and 11 171 t in 2023.

No explicit management plan or management objectives defined by Fisheries Commission. Convention General Principles are applied.

Stock definition for management purposes

Catches of redfish in Div. 3M include three species of the genus Sebastes; S. mentella, S. norvegicus (=S. marinus) and S. fasciatus. For management purposes, they are considered as one stock. The assessment and advice are based on data for only two species (S. mentella & S. fasciatus), labeled as beaked redfish. The TAC advice is adjusted to reflect all three species on the Flemish Cap, based upon the relative species distribution in recent surveys.
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Scientific Council Documents. SCR Doc. 21/034 and SCS Docs. 21/05, 06, 09, 13. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2021. Report of the Scientific Council, 27 May -11 June 2021. NAFO SCS Doc. 21/14REV. Click to open
Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). 2008. Resolution on the Interpretation and Implementation of the Convention on the Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries. 30th Annual Meeting – September 2008. NAFO/GC Doc. 08/3.  Click to open
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