Maximum likely fishing depth in the NEAFC area

Dear ICES/FAO WGFTFB members

One of the objectives of our ICES/FAO working group is to provide ICES with expertise on fishing gear. Therefore, ICES contacts our working group on a regular basis to contribute this expertise for specific technical input that ACOM requires to draft advice upon request from various management organizations. This time, ICES is searching YOUR/our technical input on the following topic related to a review on the current and potential commercial deep sea (>1000m) fishing practices worldwide:

Terms of reference for WGFTFB (and WGSFD)

Working with WGFTFB/WGSFD, provide a commentary based on expert judgement as well as NEAFC VMS and catch report data analysis on maximum depth on the use of mobile bottom contacting gear (trawls) and bottom contacting static gear in the NEAFC regulatory area.

Scientific justifications

In the context of setting up OECMs, NEAFC will require information on areas that may be fished in the future. As such, an analysis of current NEAFC fishing practices in terms of maximum depth and in terms of general bathymetric features is required to inform the likely future extent by the depth of fishing. This commentary by WGFTFB/WGSFD will serve as input to an ICES workshop on 7-11 August that will also look at the long-term biodiversity/ ecosystem benefits of 1) areas restricted to bottom fishing, and 2) closed areas according to the VME Recommendation (19:2014).

Note: WGSFD are analysing NEAFC VMS and catch report data and will also input towards the general commentary.

Background/deliverable

NEAFC (Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission) will require information on areas that are at suitable depths for fishing and on areas that could in the future also be suitable. This information is required by NEAFC in the process of designating areas as OECMs (“Other effective area-based conservation measures”) that have strict criteria. The criteria state that the management measures (i.e. restrict bottom fishing activity) are realistic and that by putting this in place it will have a long-term to biodiversity.

As such, an analysis of current NEAFC fishing practices in terms of maximum depth and in terms of general bathymetric features is required to inform the likely future extent by depth of fishing. This commentary by WGFTFB/WGSFD will serve as input to an ICES workshop, 7-11 August 2023, that will also look at the long-term biodiversity/ ecosystem benefits of 1) areas restricted to bottom fishing, and 2) closed areas according to the VME Recommendation (19:2014). The workshop will 1) evaluation of the biodiversity attributes of the areas concerned, 2) list potential threats resulting from pressures, and specifically evaluate the pressures and likely threats from fishing activities affecting or expected to affect the areas and the biodiversity attributes, and 3) evaluation of the NEAFC management measures as to whether they achieve, or are expected to achieve, positive and sustained outcomes for the in situ conservation of biodiversity. This should also include the likely or potential effectiveness in mitigating the threats to the biodiversity attributes.

Additional ToR for WGFTFB/ WGSFD

Working with WGFTFB/WGSFD, provide a commentary based on expert judgement (WGFTFB) as well as NEAFC VMS and catch report data analysis (WGSFD) on current and potential maximum depth on the use of mobile bottom contacting gear (trawls) and bottom contacting static gear (e.g. longlines) in the NEAFC regulatory area.

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Task of WGFTFB

As the focus of this advice is “what might be future depth limits of deep sea fishing” in the North East Atlantic region (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_East_Atlantic_Fisheries_Commission ), the question is directed to all WGFTFB members  to provide expertise / knowledge on deep sea fishing (>1000m) worldwide to include expertise and current and past practise from around the globe.

Please provide your technical input (in a review type of format) on the below questions:

  1. Current and past deep-sea fishing: Do you have any knowledge about deep sea fishing (>1000) in any area of the world. Please, provide details if possible (areas, depth range, type of fishery, target species, countries involved, when this fishery was conducted).
  2. Future deep-sea fishing: Do you see a further expansion of deep-sea fishing in the future (e.g. do you see any technical reason not to fish there)? What is your expectation?
  3. Do you know/have literature about deep sea fishing (>1000m)?

We require your input no later than by Friday the 21 July, so that it can be compiled into a coherent commentary.

A critical element in the ICES advisory service quality programme is the review of analysis provided by the expert groups. The review is required to assure a sound scientific basis for the advice. ICES depends on the willingness of experts that have not been involved with the work in the expert groups to provide such reviews. The task is absolute vital to assure that ICES advice remains based on best science.

Look forward to hearing back from you.

Best regards

The ICES/FAO WGFTFB chairs

1 reply
  1. Haraldur A. Einarsson
    Haraldur A. Einarsson says:

    Hi Antonello,

    From Iceland is possible to answer those questions in detail. But not in the time frame asked for!
    I will be back at the MFRI office late in August. Not suppose to answer this email as not paid time from MFRI!

    Question 1.
    We can provide detailed information about current and past deep-sea fishing in Iceland. Fishing gear used, target species etc.
    Question 2.
    We can provide our expectations for deep-sea fishing. And yes, there are substantial technical reasons why there will never be much fishery in > 1000 m depth. There are as well other than technical reasons why this fishery will always be limited.
    Question 3.
    We might have some literature here in Iceland. I need to search the Icelandic literature. I will not do that when on vacation!

    Note! We sometimes have summer in July here in Iceland. When waiting for a possible summer day, we do not work. I will give you a detailed answer in August (if you can wait and want).

    Sorry for the delayed answer.

    Best regards, and have a good summer day.

    Haraldur

    Reply

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