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Management Strategy and Harvest Control Rules

The management strategy for Icelandic fish stocks, in general, is to maintain the exploitation rate at the level which is consistent with the Precautionary Approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

Harvest Control Rules (HCR) are set by the managers of the fishery, in the case of Iceland by the government and are based on knowledge on the state of the stock and take account of the managers objectives, the nature of the resource and uncertainties.  The main aim HCRs is thus to:

-- Decrease the risk of short term interests influencing the level of exploitation.

-- Ensures that the available information on the resource are used in the most rigours manner.

-- Long term sustainable yield

-- Ensure that stock is above save biological limits

-- Often include buffers on the amount of Catch/TAC change between fishing seasons.

 

Iceland was one of the first countries to set HCR for marine stocks, starting with the cod stock.  As time has progressed the management of many other important stocks is through HCRs.  The stocks that currently are subjected to HCR are cod, haddock, saithe, golden redfish, capelin, spring spawning herring, ling and tusk. HCR are reviewed once every five years.

 

The Marine and Freshwater Research Institute (MFRI) in Iceland and The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) issue scientific advice on the Icelandic fisheries and the exploitation levels for individual fish stocks.

 

Cod (Gadus morhua)

The management strategy for Icelandic cod is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

The annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is set by a Harvest Control Rule (HCR). The rule is based on the mean of the TAC in the current year (TACy-1/y) and 20% (HRMGT) of the biomass of 4 year and older cod (B4+,y) in the assessment year (y).  The TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (September 1 of year y to August 31 of year y+1) is calculated as follows:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * (B4+,y + TACy-1/y)/2

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 220 000 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger,  the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * SSB / MGT Btrigger * (B4+,y + TACy-1/y)/2

 

This HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the Precautionary Approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy for cod, the HCR was adopted by the Icelandic authorities in June 2009 for a period of 5 years (Letter from the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture to ICES dated May 23rd, 2009).  In 2015 the plan was extended until 2020 (Letter from the Ministry of Industry and Innovation to ICES dated June 2nd, 2016).

 

Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus)

The management strategy for Iceland haddock is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

The Harvest Control Rule (HCR) is applied to calculate the annual total allowable catch (TAC) based on 40% (HRMGT) of the biomass of 45cm and larger haddock in the advisory year (B45cm+,y+1). The TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (September 1 of year y to August 31 of year y+1) is calculated as follows:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * B45cm+,y+1

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 45 000 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * SSB / MGT Btrigger * B45cm+,y+1

 

This HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach and in accordance with the ICES MSY approach. 

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy for haddock, the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic authorities in April 2013 for the consecutive period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2013/14 fishing year.

 

Saithe (Pollachius virens)

The management strategy for Icelandic saithe is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

The annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is set by a Harvest Control Rule (HCR). The rule is based on the mean of the TAC in the current year (TACy-1/y) and 20% (HRMGT) of the biomass of 4 year and older saithe (B4+,y) in the assessment year (y).  The TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (September 1 of year y to August 31 of year y+1) is calculated as follows:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * (B4+,y + TACy-1/y)/2

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 65 000 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT * SSB / MGT Btrigger * (B4+,y + TACy-1/y)/2

 

The HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy for saithe, the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic authorities in April 2013 for the consecutive period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2013/14 fishing year.

 

Golden redfish (Sebastes norvegicus)

The management strategy for golden redfish is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) the TAC for the following year (y+1) should be based on a fishing mortality of 0.097 (FMGT) .

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 220 000 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that fishing mortality shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the fishing mortality for the following year (y+1) is then calculated as:

 

Fy+1 = FMGT* (SSBy/MGT Btrigger)

 

The HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach conforms to the ICES MSY approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy for golden redfish, the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic and Greenlandic authorities in  2014 for the consecutive period of 5 years, starting in 2015.

 

Icelandic spring spawning herring (Clupea harengus)

The management strategy for Icelandic spring spawning herring is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (1 September of year Y to 31 August of year y+1) as 15% (HRMGT) of the biomass of herring age 4 and older (BRef,y) in the assessment year (y) calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* BRef,y

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 200 000 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* (SSBy/MGT Btrigger) * BRef,y

 

The HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach conforms to the ICES MSY approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy  for spring spawning herring the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic authorities in June 2017 for the consecutive period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2017/18 fishing year.

 

Ling (Molva molva)

The management strategy for Icelandic ling is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (1 September of year Y to 31 August of year y+1) as 18% (HRMGT) of the biomass of ling 75cm and larger (BRef,y) in the assessment year (y) calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* BRef,y

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 9 930 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* (SSBy/MGT Btrigger) * BRef,y

 

The HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach conforms to the ICES MSY approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy  for ling, the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic authorities in June 2017 for the consecutive period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2017/18 fishing year.

 

Tusk (Brosme brosme)

The management strategy for Icelandic tusk is to maintain the exploitation rate at the rate which is consistent with the precautionary approach and that generates maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in the long term.

 

According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 (1 September of year Y to 31 August of year y+1) as 13% (HRMGT) of the biomass of tusk 40cm and larger (BRef,y) in the assessment year (y) calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* BRef,y

 

If the spawning stock biomass (SSB) falls below 6 240 tonnes (MGT Btrigger), the HCR dictates that harvest rate shall be reduced linearly to zero based on the ratio of the SSB estimated and MGT Btrigger, the TAC for the fishing year y/y+1 is then calculated as:

 

TACy/y+1 = HRMGT* (SSBy/MGT Btrigger) * BRef,y

 

The HCR has been evaluated by ICES and found to be consistent with the precautionary approach conforms to the ICES MSY approach.

 

In accordance with the general aims of the management strategy for tusk the HCR was formally adopted by Icelandic authorities in June 2017 for the consecutive period of 5 fishing years, starting from the 2017/18 fishing year.

 

Capelin (Mallotus villosus)

The management strategy for capelin is to maintain the spawning stock biomass above safe biological limits which are consistent with the precautionary approach.

 

According to the Harvest Control Rule (HCR) an initial quota is set following the rule developed by ICES, with a very low probability of being higher than a regression estimated final TAC. This is followed by an intermediate TAC set in the autumn and a final TAC set in winter, that will have a >95% probability of SSB being greater than or equal to Blim at spawning time in the following spring.

 

The Coastal states, Iceland, Greenland and Norway, have agreed (Coastal State Consultations, 2015) to use the HCR as the basis for management.

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