Megrim

Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Demersal otter trawl
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — Northern North Sea and West of Scotland
Stock detail

4.a and 6.a


Picture of Megrim

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

The stock is assessed as healthy and is being harvested sustainably. Avoid eating immature fish (less than 25cm) and during their spawning season (January to April).

Biology

A common flatfish found in shelf seas throughout the northeast Atlantic. Megrim spawns in spring in deep water off Iceland, and between January and April along the edge of the continental shelf to the southwest and west of the British Isles. It is found at depths ranging from 50-800 m, but with the highest abundance around 100-300 m. For both sexes combined, 50% of individuals mature at about 20 cm at 2.5 years old. Males reach first maturity at a lower length and age than females. Megrim can attain a length of about 60 cm, although more usually 35-45 cm, and a maximum age of 14-15 years.

Stock information

Criterion score: 0 info

Stock Area

Northern North Sea and West of Scotland

Stock information

Fishing mortality (F) has been declining since the mid-1990s and has been well below FMSY since the mid-2000s. Biomass (B) has been increasing since the mid-2000s and has been above MSY Btrigger for the entire time-series.
ICES assesses that fishing pressure on the stock is below FMSY, Fpa, and Flim, and the stock size is above Bpa, Blim, and MSY Btrigger.
ICES advise that when the MSY approach is applied, catches in 2019 should be no more than 8250 tonnes.

Management

Criterion score: 0.5 info

There is no agreed precautionary management plan for megrim in this area. Megrim is a bycatch species in the mixed bottom trawl fisheries in this area which is subject to effort management under the EU cod management plan. Management measures for other species have constrained the fishery and reduced effort and fishing mortality on megrim.
The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) is for subareas 4 and 6 and includes Division 6.b, for which scientific advice is given separately. The stock advice is for the two species, L. whiffiagonis and L. boscii combined. Available information indicates that L. boscii are a negligible proportion, based on historical sampling of the Scottish and Irish megrim catch.

When there are restrictive quotas for anglerfish, area misreporting of megrim catches from subarea 6. into subarea 4. can be a problem. However, this situation is reported to have reversed in response to more restrictive quotas introduced into 4. The extent of the problem is unknown, and ICES recommends that it be investigated. Since 2014, there has been increasing coverage by the Scottish industry/science observer sampling scheme in divisions 4.a and 6.a.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 0.5 info

Megrim are predominantly caught using otter trawls as part of a targeted fishery for monkfish or anglerfish, and as bycatch in fisheries for demersal species such as cod and haddock. Male megrim grow to a smaller maximum size than females, and as a consequence the majority of males in the catch are discarded and the bulk of fish landed is comprised of females. The minimum landing size for megrim in EU waters is 20cm (25cm in Skagerrak/Kattegat). Increased mesh sizes brought in to protect cod are expected to also benefit the megrim population by reducing the bycatch of juveniles. Discard rates have decreased and were estimated at 6% of the total catch in 2017, with trawlers accounting for 92% of discards and 99% of landings.

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Dab
Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Megrim
Plaice
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Sole, Lemon
Turbot (Caught at sea)
Turbot (Farmed)

References

ICES 2018. ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort Celtic Seas , Faroes, and Greater North Sea ecoregions. Published 29 June 2018. http://ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2018/2018/lez.27.4a6a.pdf (Accessed July 2018).