Evolution of the state of fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic within a precautionary framework, 1970–2003: a synoptic evaluation
- ISSN: 10543139
- DOI: 10.1016/j.icesjms.2005.07.003
The state and trajectory of some of the stocks assessed by ICES in the North Atlantic in the period 1970-2003 are synoptically represented on a single system of representation of fishing mortality and biomass with precautionary reference points used as limits and thresholds. The results indicate that for nearly 30 years, the status of the stocks in relation to the precautionary reference points has been degrading in terms of spawning biomass and excess fishing mortality, driving most resources down close to and often beyond those reference points. The situation seems to have improved during the past decade, with some exceptions, as shown by progressive shift of the mean position of the stocks away from excessive mortality (since the early 1990s) and, after a time-lag, away from low biomass (since the early 2000s). The proposed representation system sticks to the reference points and value judgements used in the ICES context, but could be used with any equivalent precautionary system of representation.