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Lesser sandeel
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Preliminary advice for lesser sandeel

The Norwegian closed area rotation management for lesser sandeel have been in place since 2010, and the Institute of Marine Reseach’s preliminary quota advice on lesser sandeel (Ammodytes marinus) is reduced from 100 000 tonnes in 2015 to 40 000 tonnes in 2016. It is further adviced that the sub-areas 1b, 2a, 3a and 3b should be opened for regular fishery for sandeel from 15 April to 23 June 2016. The final advice for lesser sandeel will be presented in mid May.

Management plan

Based on historical fishing patterns and local stock development, 5 areas – each consisting of two or three sub-areas – are defined in Norwegian waters of the North Sea. The management plan aims to rebuild the five spawning stocks and thereby enhance the total recruitment and catch potential. If acoustic surveys and fishery data show that the spawning stock is large and widely distributed within an area, one of the adjacent subareas is opened. Prior to the fishing season a preliminary TAC is given, and within the open subareas the fleet can operate freely. The acoustic surveys carried out in the current year will be used to validate previous biomass estimates and to estimate the recruitment strength of the 1-year old sandeels. Based on this up-dated survey information, the quota within the current year can be increased and new areas (subareas) opened.

Map of the five management areas in NEEZ.

Map of the five management areas in NEEZ. Red polygons depict the sandeel fishing ground in Norwegian waters

Recruitment and spawning stock biomass

The recruitment of lesser sandeel were poor for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 year classes, but the 2013 year class was high and the 2014 medium high. The spawning stock biomass in areas 1-3 is medium high, while in area 4 it is low. The dredge survey in December 2015 indicates a low recruitment of the 2015 year class in areas 1-4. No dredge survey has been carried out in area 5 (the Viking bank), but the acoustical surveys conducted the last years show very low quantities of sandeel in this area.

Acoustic survey estimates of the biomass of lesser sandeel

Acoustic survey estimates of the biomass of lesser sandeel.