Herring in the Firth of Clyde - setting the total allowable catch for 2022: consultation

Marine Scotland is carrying out this consultation on behalf of the UK Fisheries Administrations, to seek views on the level of the 2022 TAC, to permit the allocation of Clyde herring quota to UK fishermen.

2. Proposed TAC

The TAC and landings data for the last eleven years are as follows:

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
TAC(t) 720 720 648 648 583 583 583 583 583 583 583
Landings(t) 90 302 25 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 180

On consideration of the Marine Scotland Science report (section 5) we note that:

  • The herring fishery in the Clyde has declined from its peak in the 1960s, with catches typically less than 500 tonnes over the last 20 years and only 180 tonnes landed in 2021.
  • Scientific surveys suggest that the herring population currently found in the Clyde is heavily dominated by young age classes (1- and 2-year old herring). These fish are below the minimum landing size in place for this area.
  • Clyde herring are known to be linked to other herring stocks to the west of Scotland, which are currently in poor condition.
  • There is no evidence that the current total allowable catch (TAC) for the Clyde should be increased beyond its current level of 583 tonnes.
  • There is also no evidence to suggest that the TAC should be reduced, nor that the other management measures in place for herring in the Clyde should be changed.

Current knowledge of the stock is uncertain, particularly with the Q1 IBTS survey unable to take place this year, and insufficient to be able to quantify a precautionary TAC. Given these uncertainties, and signals from the scientific information that is available to us from previous years, a cautious approach to setting the TAC in 2022 would be prudent.

We therefore propose two options for the TAC in 2022:

a. Rollover the 2021 TAC at 583 tonnes.

b. Apply a precautionary buffer, i.e. a 20% reduction on the 2021 TAC. This would equate to a TAC in 2022 of 466 tonnes. This option would mirror the approach taken by ICES for some category 3-6 stocks, when the stock status is unknown.

Question 1: What is your view on the options above for a proposed TAC level for Clyde herring in 2022?

Should you wish to meet with Marine Scotland to discuss these options, please email clydeherring@gov.scot to request this.


Email: clydeherring@gov.scot

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