Lobster, Norway, Langoustine, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi

Nephrops norvegicus

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Pot or creel
Capture area — North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area — West Scotland (South Minch)
Stock detail — VIa (Management Area C, FU 12)
Picture of Lobster, Norway, Langoustine, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

Trawl fisheries for scampi (nephrops) are associated with large quantities of bycatch, including overfished species such as cod, haddock and whiting. Pots or creels are a much more selective method of fishing, as immature or egg carrying animals can be returned to the sea alive and bycatch of overfished species is not an issue. The method also tends to produce a larger, higher quality product.

To ensure exploitation is in line with the size of the local population ,and so better protect the stock, scientists advise that management should be implemented at the functional unit (FU) level. Currently there is no localized management of stocks which has resulted in the overfishing and depletion of some Nephrops populations like the Farn Deeps.

Biology

Norway Lobster (also known as langoustine or scampi) live in burrows on the seabed. They are limited to a muddy habitat and require sediment with a silt and clay content to excavate burrows. Their distribution therefore is determined by the availability of suitable habitat. They occur over a wide area in the North East Atlantic, from Iceland to North Africa and into the Mediterranean, and constitute a valuable fishery for many countries. Males grow relatively quickly to around 6 cm, but seldom exceed 10 years old. Females grow more slowly and can reach 20 years old. Females mature at about 3 years. In the autumn they lay eggs which remain attached to the tail for 9 months (known as being "berried"). During this time the berried females rarely emerge from their burrows and therefore do not commonly appear in trawl catches, although they may be caught using baited creels. This habit of remaining in their burrows has probably afforded their populations some resilience to fishing pressure. Egg hatching occurs in the spring, and females emerge in spring/summer to moult and mate.

Stock information

Stock Area

West Scotland (South Minch)

Stock information

Nephrops stock assessment and management is based on a system of management units (A-R), which broadly coincide with ICES areas, and functional units (FU)(1-33), which cover the distribution of the species, particularly in relation to suitable habitat types. In part due to the difficulty of assessing stocks, which may spend significant amounts of time in burrows, a fishery independent survey method using video surveys has been developed, which uses burrow density to estimate stock biomass. This technique is now widely, though not comprehensively, used within the management units, enabling recommended TACs and management advice to be provided by ICES. Fisheries landings data are also available to augment the video survey data.
The historical harvest rate, calculated as (landings + dead discards)/ (abundance estimate), has decreased and is below FMSY. The stock abundance is above MSY Btrigger.
ICES advises that when the MSY approach is applied, and assuming that discard rates and fishery selection patterns do not change from the average of 2013-2015, catches in 2017 should be no more than 6419 tonnes. This implies landings of no more than 6196 tonnes.

Management

Since March 2016 additional management measure have been adopted to reduce fishing mortality and help achieve Fmsy (fishing mortality at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels) for the Farn Deeps Nephrops by 2017 and thus recover the stock to a sustainable level. . These measures include: a minimum mesh size of 90mm using single twine of 5 mm; only single-rig vessels of 350 kW (476 hp) or less will be permitted to fish within 12 NM of the coast; Multi-rig vessels (vessels with three or more rigs) will be prohibited from operating within the Farn Deeps. Twin rig vessels will be permitted to operate outside 12 NM; No vessel will be permitted to use gear with more than one codend per rig; The Farn Deeps will be defined as ICES rectangle 38E8, 38E9, 39E8, 38E9, 40E8 and 40E9 thus introducing management at the FU as recommended by scientists. It is not clear at present however whether these measures will achieve the intended reduction in fishing expected.

Capture Information

Pots or creels are a much more selective method of fishing, as immature or egg carrying animals can be returned to the sea alive. The method also tends to produce a larger, higher quality product. The minimum landing size for Nephrops in EU waters is 20-25mm (40mm Skagerrak/Kattegat) total carapace length depending on area of capture. For this area it is 20mm. Landing live 'tubed' prawns is now common in the creel sector on the NE coast and throughout the west coast of Scotland.

References

ICES Advice 2016, Book 5 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/nep-12.pdf