The Marine Institute has launched the 2021 Stock Book, the annual publication which provides the latest impartial scientific advice on the status of 74 key fish stocks of interest to Ireland.
This is the 29th edition of the annual book, which also contains the latest management advice used by decision makers to set sustainable catch levels and fishing quotas for 2022. The publication is a valued reference guide throughout the industry, used by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the fishing industry, marine scientists, environmental NGOs, third level institutes and financial institutions.
‘I am impressed by the quantity and quality of data collected by our marine scientists in the Marine Institute. This work must inform all aspects of fisheries management and support the effective protection of our marine ecosystem in the seas around our coast and for the fisheries on which our fleet are reliant,’ said The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD.
‘It is important that the results of all the work is made accessible to industry and other stakeholders and I very much welcome the Stock Book for 2021 which I have now received.’
In 2020, Irish vessels landed approximately 190,000 tonnes of wild caught fish worth more than €250 million at first sale. This supports a valuable processing industry and other activities in our coastal communities.
Every year, the Marine Institute undertakes an extensive data collection programme – multiple scientific surveys cover approximately 327,000 square nautical miles over 263 days, equating to 1,545 scientist days-at-sea.
Onshore and at sea sampling programmes measure over half a million fish and estimate age for a further 50,000 individuals across all commercial species. Irish data is compiled with that from other countries through the intergovernmental organisation ICES). Marine Institute scientists play a key role in carrying out the assessments and developing the scientific evidence and advice at ICES. The Stock Book integrates the latest scientific advice from ICES with relevant information on Irish fisheries.
‘The seas around Ireland are among the most productive and biologically sensitive areas in EU waters. The Marine Institute conducts comprehensive and broad science programmes in order to sustainably monitor and develop this valuable resource,’ said Michael Gillooly, Interim CEO of the Marine Institute.
‘The scientific advice and services provided by our scientists to stakeholders are essential to supporting a sustainable ocean economy, protecting and managing our marine ecosystems and meeting EU obligations. As part of the services provided, our scientists also participate in, and lead, international working groups that assess fish stocks and provide scientific advice on how many fish can be safely removed from this renewable resource. This is essential in sustaining our ocean economy for our coastal communities.’
The gradual increase in the number of stocks that are sustainably fished, in line with Common Fisheries Policy objectives, has continued. Stocks of haddock, monkfish, megrim, tuna, and some of the Nephrops (Dublin Bay Prawns), have increased in recent years and continue to be sustainably fished. Work also continues on stocks such as cod, herring and whiting.
The 2021 Stock Book is available electronically on the Marine Institute’s website – and as an interactive app. Most of the scientific work that delivers the Marine Institute’s Stock Book is funded under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).
‘The interactive app developed by the Marine Institute is shaping thinking on how independent scientific advice can be delivered to fisheries managers and other stakeholders in the future ensuring that the best available scientific evidence for decision making is easy to access and transparent to all,’ said Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services at the Marine Institute.