After five years as a prohibited species, the stock of spurdog (Squalus acanthias) is judged to have recovered sufficiently to again support commercial landings this and next year. The decision has been taken on the basis of ICES advice that suprdog can support a sustainable fishery.
A TAC was agreed for North-east Atlantic spurdog during EU-UK fisheries negotiations. For this year the UK receives a quota allocation of 2781 tonnes in the North Sea and 4825 tonnes in western waters.
North Sea spurdog quota are shared between the UK Fisheries Administrations in England, Scotland, Wales and NI using existing fixed quota allocation units for allocation to industry groups. Western spurdog quota will be kept unallocated and managed by monthly tonnage limits in UK vessel licences, with limits being closely monitored and adjusted as necessary once more data is gathered on the fishery.
According to the UK authorities, as part of the precautionary approach to reopening the fishery, a reserve of 25% of the North Sea quota will be held by the UK government, with a decision on allocating this reserve to be made later this year.
The UK and EU have prohibited landings of spurdog over 100cm in length to discourage the targeting of larger females and provide protection for the breeding stock.
The UK will continue to gather more information on the stock as part of this approach, and additional measures could be introduced if necessary.
‘Through the management of spurdog as a prohibited species, we have enabled stocks to recover to the point where our fishing industry can once again fish this species commercially on a sustainable basis,’ stated UK fisheries minister Mark Spencer.
‘We will continue to use the latest scientific advice and monitor stocks to ensure appropriate management measures are in place to protect the species.’