Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Assessing the sustainability of fisheries catch limits negotiated by the UK for 2020 to 2022


What's in the report:

The fisheries sustainability assessment detailed in this report presents different figures than those previously quoted for the UK. A Written Ministerial Statement made on the 29th of April 20201 stated that the UK had 67% of TACs (Total Allowable Catches) set at MSY for 2020, whereas this report states that for the same year 34% of TACs were set consistent with ICES scientific advice. This change is not because the UK now judges the outcome of negotiations for 2020 to be less sustainable, but because the assessment in this report asks a fundamentally different question for a far greater number of TACs. 

This report and accompanying methodology report (Nash et al., 2022) is the culmination of the commitment, to undertake a forward-looking review of this assessment methodology, which is outlined in the same written Ministerial Statement. This report documents why this new forward-looking or intention-based assessment is more appropriate for reporting on the UK’s negotiated outcomes. However, in fisheries management, intentions do not always match outcomes as fishery forecasts of population size and mortality rates are uncertain. Therefore, this assessment should be viewed in connection with outcome-based reporting such as that under the Marine Strategy and UK Biodiversity Indicators which retrospectively measures and reports on the status of UK stocks and fishing pressure. 

You can also read the Outcomes of the Annual Negotiations for 2021-2022 here.

Authors: Ewen Bell, Richard Nash, Eva Garnacho, José De Oliveira, Carl O’Brien