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.


*the species is also referred to as Picked dogfish and Spiny Dogfish.

a) The Delegations noted ICES advice that when the MSY approach is applied, catches of spurdog, Squalus acanthias, in subareas 1-10, 12 and 14 in 2023 and 2024 should be no more than 17,353 tonnes and 17,855 tonnes, respectively.

b) The Delegations agreed that the total advised catch would inform the 2023 TACs for Western (DGS/15X14), North Sea (DGS/2AC4-C) and Skagerrak (DGS/03A-C).

c) The Delegations also agreed to work towards removing the stock from their respective prohibited lists as soon as possible in 2023. The prohibition in licences issued by the UK to EU vessels will be lifted at the same time as the legislative prohibition that applies to UK vessels is lifted.

d) The Delegations recognised the NEAFC Recommendation on Conservation and Management Measures for Spurdog (Squalus acanthias) in ICES subareas 1-10,12, and 14 for 2023 and 2024, which reopens the fishery on the basis of the precautionary approach, requiring effective management by ensuring that the fishery only expands gradually with significant caution, bearing in mind that until 2023 all targeted fishery was prohibited.

e) The Delegations recognised the biological distribution of the stock and the importance of responsible international fisheries management. They decided that for this year the agreed TACs should take account of other coastal State catches. As set out in Table A below, the Delegations agreed that for 2023 this should be set at 1,900 tonnes (this is 10.95% of the ICES advice), derived from historic catch data.

f) The Delegations agreed that for 2023 the net tonnage after the set-aside referred to in paragraph e) above will be apportioned to the three TACs and shared between the two Parties as shown in Table B below. In the case of the Western TAC the shares are those shown in Annex 35 to the TCA. For the North Sea TAC and the Skagerrak TAC, the shares reflect the sharing arrangement which was in place in the last year before spurdog became a prohibited species (2009). The shares for all three TACs are also shown in Annex 1. The apportionment to the three TACs also reflects the arrangements in place in that year.

g) From the date when both Parties have removed spurdog from their respective prohibited species lists, each Party will grant to vessels of the other Party full access to its waters in 2023 to fish the North Sea spurdog TAC at a level that is reasonably commensurate with the Parties’ respective shares of that TAC. Access to the zone in the waters of the Parties between six and twelve nautical miles from the baselines will only be to ICES division 4c and only to the extent that each Party's qualifying vessels had access to that zone on 31 December 2020 ("qualifying vessel" means a vessel of a Party, which fished in ICES divisions 4c or 7d-g in the zone mentioned in the previous sentence in at least four years between 2012 and 2016, or its direct replacement). For greater certainty, the Parties confirm that all other catches (quota or non quota stocks) by vessels fishing under this access arrangement are covered by Article 2(1) of Annex 38 to the TCA.

h) As a precautionary measure to discourage targeting of mature females, the Delegations agreed to introduce a measure to discourage the targeting of spurdog individuals over 100cm in length (from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin) at the point the stock is removed from the prohibited list.

i) Each Party may also consider additional measures in 2023 to protect the recovery of the stock if it considers this necessary.

j) The Delegations noted the importance of suitable and robust monitoring mechanisms to detect and react as appropriate to significant changes from historic fishing patterns and agreed that they will formally review catch data regularly through the SCF.

k) The Delegations will consider whether this stock should be managed at wider coastal State level.

l) In order to avoid any doubt, the Delegations agreed that all the arrangements concerning spurdog are without prejudice to arrangements in future years.

Table A – Overall spurdog catch figure in 2023

ICES headline advice 2023

17,353 t

Headline advice minus 10.95% set aside of coastal State catches

15,453 t

Table B – TAC apportionment, UK EU shares and values in 2023

TAC unit

TAC apportionment

Total tonnage

UK share

EU share

UK tonnage

EU tonnage

North Sea DGS/2AC4-C

22.222 %

3,434 t



2,781 t

652 t

Western DGS/15X14 

70.464 %

10,889 t



4,825 t

6,064 t

Skagerrak DGS/03A-C

7.314 %

1,130 t



0 t

1,130 t 

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