European Union and the United Kingdom - fisheries consultations: written record 2023

Written record of fisheries consultations between the United Kingdom and the European Union for 2023.

Mixed fisheries science

a) The Delegations noted that there are technical interactions between stocks caught together in mixed fisheries and discussed how best to support the recovery of depleted stocks through both TAC-setting and decoupling through technical measures, taking into account all the available scientific evidence. The Delegations further noted the previous commitments on mixed fisheries in the 2021 and 2022 Written Records. The Parties have submitted a joint request to ICES on mixed fisheries science to evaluate sensitivities and uncertainties within mixed fisheries models and refine a method to describe the strength of technical interactions between different stocks. The Delegations further noted that engagement between fisheries managers and ICES would be beneficial to inform the types of scenarios that fisheries managers want ICES to explore in the future.

b) As a result, the Delegations:

i. agreed that depleted stocks are taken as incidental bycatches, and that the mortality of these stocks is influenced by the level at which other TACs for stocks which are also caught in the same fishery are set

ii. agreed that the approach to TAC-setting will, where relevant, look beyond single stock catch advice in order to contribute to management objectives, and consider all the best available evidence and other relevant factors including long-term and short-term socio-economic considerations

iii. noted that both single stock advice and mixed fisheries scenarios have different strengths and limitations and that work is ongoing to better understand the assumptions and uncertainties within the mixed fisheries models

iv. agreed to consider the outcome of the joint ICES request in the SCF to assess how and whether findings are to be taken into account in consultations

v. agreed that incidental by-catches may be de-coupled via technical and other spatial and temporal measures and that as a longer-term development of the mixed fisheries models, the agreed ICES request asks ICES to develop methods to take into account gear-based and spatial measures on catch projections

vi. noted that current ICES mixed fisheries scenarios currently do not cover all geographical areas, such as the West of Scotland, or all stocks in mixed fisheries, but that the multi-stock character of these fisheries will, where relevant, be taken into account using other sources of evidence; 

viii. agreed that the Parties will work together through the SCF to continue to define how the Parties want to develop mixed fisheries science further, including considering areas and stocks not currently included in the mixed fisheries models. 

c) The EU Delegation notified that it has recently launched a research project to support the joint EU-UK Terms of Reference on Mixed Fisheries submitted to ICES. The project will commence in December 2022.

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