The Marine Institute has published the 2023 edition of the Stock Book. This detailed annual publication provides the latest impartial scientific advice to government on the status of 74 key fish stocks of interest to Ireland.
Michael Gillooly, Interim CEO of the Marine Institute said, “I am delighted to see the publication of this year’s Stock Book which is the culmination of a lot of hard work by Marine Institute scientists throughout the year. Our scientists collect, manage and analyse the data need to assess how many fish can be sustainably harvested from this renewable resource. Marine Institute experts collaborate with ICES to develop the robust and independent scientific advice for management. 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. This work is essential to ensure sustainable seafood supplies which is backbone of the coastal economy in many areas.”
Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services at the Marine Institute said, “Over the last two decades Ireland has invested significantly in gathering data and improving knowledge of our fisheries resources and marine ecosystems. This paying off in terms of improved science based advice and more sustainable outcomes for seafood production and our ocean. Marine Institute scientists continue to make a significant contribution to the work of ICES and it is noteworthy that the incoming chair of the ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM) is Dr Colm Lordan who has led the work on this year’s Stock Book.”
This is the 31st edition of the annual book, which contains the latest management advice used by decision makers to set sustainable catch levels and fishing quotas for 2024. The publication is an invaluable reference guide for a wide audience, including the Minister’s team of negotiators, the fishing industry, marine scientists, environmental NGOs and third level institutes.
In 2022, Irish vessels landed approximately 157,000 tonnes of wild caught fish worth more than €296 million at first sale. This, in turn, supports a valuable processing industry and other activities in our coastal communities.
Ensuring long term sustainability is a key objective of the Common Fisheries policy. To that end, every year, the Marine Institute undertakes an extensive data collection programme on board commercial vessels, in the ports and on multiple scientific fisheries surveys. Over 200 days, equating to more than 2,000 scientist days, are spent at sea monitoring fisheries resources on Ireland’s state of the art marine research vessels, RV Tom Crean and RV Celtic Explorer.
Onshore and at sea sampling programmes measure over half a million fish and estimate age for a further 56,000 individuals across all commercial species. Irish data are compiled with that from other countries through the intergovernmental organisation ICES. Marine Institute scientists carry out the stock assessments and develop the scientific evidence and advice at ICES. The Stock Book integrates the latest scientific advice from ICES with relevant information on Irish fisheries.
Minister Charlie McConalogue said, “I am delighted to receive the Fish Stock Book for 2023. This provides essential information reviewing the state of fish stocks in 2023 and provides management advice for the setting of quotas for 2024. The exemplary work done by the Marine Institute scientists, feeds into the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), to generate best available independent scientific advice which guides my negotiations at the December Fisheries Council and with Third Countries, including the UK. It is important that the science and advice is made accessible to industry and other stakeholders through the continued annual publication of the Fish Stock Book.”
The Minister added, “Again in 2023 there is a trend towards improved state for many fished stocks. This solid evidence basis is giving assurance that our policy at national and EU level is making progress on delivering long-term sustainability. Stocks of haddock, monkfish, megrim, tuna, and some of the Dublin Bay Prawn stocks have increased in recent years and continue to be sustainably fished. There are some stocks such as cod, herring and whiting that have declined and are slow to recover, work will continue to rebuilding of these important stocks.”
The 2023 Stock Book is available electronically on the Marine Institute’s website https://oar.marine.ie/handle/