Recent Submissions

  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) - Evaluation of fishing effort and catch regime for demersal fisheries in the western Mediterranean Sea (Part XI) (STECF-23-11)

    Bitetto, Isabella; Certain, Gregoire; Döring, Ralf; Garriga Panisello, Mariona; Gourguet, Sophie; Grati, Fabio; Lehuta, Sigrid; Mahevas, Stephanie; Merzéréaud, Mathieu; Murenu, Matteo; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union,, 2023)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report is the 11th of a suite of STECF EWG reports dedicated to the evaluation of the implementation of the Western Mediterranean Sea Multi-Annual management Plan (hereafter, MAP), following EWG reports 18-09, 18-13, 19-01, 19-14, 20-13, 21-01, 21- 13, 22-01, 22- 11 and 23-01. The group was requested to update the graphical representation of fishing effort time series evolution by MS, GSA, vessel length and gear with the latest data obtained from the FDI datacall (TOR 1). Together with the fishing effort time series the group was requested to update the F-E analysis by stock and gear using the outputs from STECF EWG 23-09 (TOR 2). The group was also requested to collect qualitative information on the fuel related situation to potentially estimate cost changes in 2022-2023 (TOR2). Finally, the group was requested to implement mixed fisheries bio-economic models to run a number of different scenarios up to 2030 to test a combination of measures taking into account all the effort reductions, closure areas and maximum catch limits (MCLs) introduced in the western Mediterranean MAP since 2020 (TOR 3-4). Within the scenarios a combination of effort reductions and MSLs were tested, together with the introduction of spatio-temporal closures and selectivity restrictions to obtain compensation mechanisms by MSs. A total number of 13 scenarios were requested, 6 of which were considered priority scenarios. For TOR 1 time series of fishing effort in fishing days, days at sea, hours at sea, GT x fishing days, and kW x fishing days by Country (Spain, France, Italy), EMU (1 and 2), GSA (1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), gear (OTB, OTT, GNS, GTR, LLS, other), and fleet segment (<12m, 12-18m, 18-24m, >24m) were produced. Graphs for fishing days are reported in the report while the rest of the data are submitted in Annex I as an Excel table. The comparison of fishing days for trawlers (OTB, OTM, OTT, PTB, PTM and TBB as per EU regulation 2019/2236) declared in the FDI official datacall and reported in the 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 regulations were reported this year as well. Across fleet segments, the fishing effort from the regulation is greater, for most segments, than that estimated through the FDI database. This could be due to the regulation values being calculated considering the maximum fishing days possible for the year and also difficult to estimate the possible transfer among fleet segments. An additional analysis (section 2.3) was added to provide a broad context of the state and evolution of the fishery in EMU-1 (encompassing GSAs 1,5,6,7), through the detailed examination of weights, values and prices landed by stocks and fleet segments using the FDI data submitted to the group. It was observed that during the implementation of the MAP, all fleet segments have not evolved in the same way. If all demersal trawlers seem to face a substantial contraction of their landed values, deep-water trawlers are increasing their landed value, most likely thanks to an increased ARA price. Still, for many other fleets, the transition rates before and during the plan remains similar. For TOR 2 the F-E analysis was updated and as in previous years a linear relationship consistent across GSAs and stocks was not found for any gear. Those stocks were there seem to be a linear relationship, such as HKE, ARA, DPS (except for DPS 1), it was shown that there is an effect of the GSA level which should be accounted for in future modelling exercises potentially using mixed effect models. Concerning fuel prices the group noted that marine fuel prices are significantly influenced by global oil prices which are driven by factors like international agreements, supply disruptions, or changes in demand. Geopolitical tensions and conflicts, sanctions or embargoes on certain countries can affect the availability and cost of marine fuels. Technology and efficiency improvements can impact fuel efficiency and investments in energy-efficient vessels and propulsion systems can lead to cost savings. Also, environmental concerns, such as reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainable fishing practices, are affecting fuel usage and prices. It's also important to consider that marine fuel prices can vary significantly by region and port, depending on local factors, taxes, subsidies, transportation costs and regulations. In particular, governments may provide subsidies or financial incentives to the fishing industry to mitigate the impact of high fuel prices or promote environmentally friendly practices. Within the group the EUMOFA and AER data are used to parameterize the models. On these data the group highlighted two issues for a correct interpretation of the model results: 1. The financial situation which the bio-economic models present for the year 2022 and beyond depend a lot on the assumptions regarding the development of fuel prices but include no mitigation measures for the fishing companies (like de minimis payments to cover parts of the increase in fuel costs 2022). STECF plenary (22-03) agreed not to include those support payments to allow distinguishing between the impacts of the MAP from external economic shocks. 2. STECF PLEN (22-03) observed that the nowcast for 2023 (that are now used as input data for the models) should be interpreted with caution due to the fact that the development in the second half of the year (energy and fish prices, inflation, interest rates etc.) is unknown and highly uncertain. FOR TOR 3 results for EMU 1 are obtained from the IAM and the ISIS-Fish models: from the IAM model only scenarios adjusting trawler fishing effort to reach Fmsy of Hake (i.e. scenarios A and D) foresee exploitation levels in line with the objectives of the plan, i.e. all stocks at Fmsy in 2025. With the two other simulated scenarios, in which only maximum catch limit on ARA was applied, with or without selectivity measures on deep water trawls, i.e. scenarios Status Quo and L, respectively, the stocks of Hake in GSA1567, red mullet in GSA1, red mullet in GSA6, Nephrops in GSA 6, and Blue and red shrimp in GSA 5 do not reach the objective of Fmsy in 2025. Scenarios allowing to reach Fmsy for all stocks foresee some significant negative socio-economic impacts for French and Spanish trawlers in the short and medium term, with a reduction in their Gross Value Added, Gross Profit, employment in terms of Full Time Equivalent (FTE), and average wages. From the ISIS-Fish model results showed that the SQ scenario did not achieve the objective of the plan regarding HKE, as fishing mortality stays way above Fmsy and the SSB below Blim. The four other scenarios, A, B, C and E, on the contrary succeeded in reaching Fmsy at the latest in 2028 and Hake SSB was above Blim but below Bpa starting in 2029. The determinant factor was the adjustment of effort to reach Fmsy, which implied reductions in effort level of more than 60% compared to 2022 FDI values. Economic indicators for ISIS- Fish could not be reported. In EMU 2 results are obtained from models BEMTOOL and SMART: from the BEMTOOL model for ARS, MUT9 and DPS the Fmsy level is reached by 2025 for all the scenarios explored. For DPS an increase in F is expected in 2024 for scenario L, due to the reallocation of the effort induced by the catch limit, but in 2025 the value is below Fmsy. For HKE and NEP9 only scenarios A, C and D (which are forced to reach Fmsy by 2025) allow to reach Fmsy in 2025, while SQ and L have F well above the reference point. It should be noticed that the change in selectivity implemented in scenario L show a slight improvement in respect to the SQ scenario for HKE, but it does not allow to reach Fmsy in 2025. As a general consideration, the scenarios most impacting on the effort highlight the risk of underutilization of the stocks that currently already are close or in line with the reference point. Results for the stock of MUT 10 and ARA in 9-10-11 should be taken with caution as no analytical assessment was available for these two stocks in the last two years. The results of the economic indicators showed that in the short term for all the alternative scenarios is expected a decrease, which generally is followed by an increase in the medium-long term. For the SMART model for four of the five stocks (ARS, DPS, HKE, and MUT) the scenarios associated with the best effect on the stock are A, C, D, E and L. For NEP, the situation seems to be much more complex and only scenario A allows you to get close to the BPA (Precautionary Biomass Level) value. However, all the simulated scenarios show a substantial reduction in Gross profit margin. Results suggest that in EMU 1 and 2 Fmsy in 2025 is reached for all stocks only when effort is decreased as much as 60% to 85% depending on the fleet segment observed, with bigger segments suffering a higher reduction. Scenarios accounting for an MCL on ARA and ARS do not allow to reach Fmsy for all stocks including HKE. In EMU 2, the ARS, MUT and DPS stocks are already close or at Fmsy becoming underutilized due to the reductions to bring HKE and NEP at Fmsy.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) - Stock assessments in the Western Mediterranean Sea (STECF 23-09)

    Ligas, Alessandro; Mannini, Alessandro; Certain, Gregoire; Costantini, Ilaria; Couve, Pablo; García, Encarni; Garriga Panisello, Mariona; Guijarro, Beatriz; Kupschus, Sven; Mantopoulou Palouka, Danai; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2023)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines This report documents the outcomes of STECF Expert Working Group 23-09: 2023 stock assessments of demersal stocks in the Western Mediterranean Sea from the meeting held in hybrid mode from 4th to 10th September 2023. A total of 20 fish stocks considered. Nine stocks were evaluated by means of a statistical catch at age (SCAA) model (a4a). Due to the lack of survey information in 2022, five stocks were evaluated through a catch weight projection and short-term forecast. The methodological approach is described in the last part of this Executive Summary, and in the Report. In 2022, index- based advice was given for three stocks (ARA8-9-10-11 and NEP11 on two years basis while for MUT 10 just for one year), and they were re-evaluated by EWG 23-09. The advice for ARA8-9-10-11 and NEP11 have been confirmed while for MUT 10 the missing index information led the group to consider downgrading the advice from an index-based one to a catch only advice approach (ICES Category 5). Two stocks for which the index-based advice provided in 2021 (2 years advice) have been evaluated again looking for a plausible fully analytical assessment. None of the model setting tried was able to provide acceptable results, therefore a biomass index-based advice is given again. The content of the report gives the STECF terms of reference; the basis of the evaluations; assessments, reference point calculations; summaries of state of stock and advised catch or F based on either the MSY approach for assessed stocks and category 3 and 5 based advice for those without assessments. The report contains the full stock assessment reports, the exploration of assessments and category 3 and 5 evaluations for the remaining stocks. The report also contains the STECF observations and conclusions on the assessment report. These conclusions come from the STECF mini plenary meeting October 2023.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), Evaluation of economic indicators and closure areas in the western Mediterranean. (STECF-23-01).

    Pinto, Cecilia; Döring, Ralf; Accadia, Paolo; Bastardie, Francois; Billet, Norbert; Bitetto, Isabella; Certain, Gregoire; Drouineau, Hilaire; Garriga Panisello, Mariona; Gourguet, Sophie; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2023)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report is the 10th of a suite of STECF EWG reports dedicated to the evaluation of the implementation of the Western Mediterranean Sea Multi-Annual management Plan (hereafter, MAP), following EWG reports 18-09, 18-13, 19-01, 19-14, 20-13, 21-01, 21- 13, 22-01 and 22-11. The group was requested to continue the development of socio-economic indicators to be used in the evaluation of management measures for the West Med MAP in both West Med management units (EMU1 and EMU 1) (TOR1). Two roadmaps were discussed, a short term approach and a long term approach which would consider the expansion of all the mixed-fisheries bio-economic models to both management units. As a first step, the group focused on the proposal of harmonizing the economic indicators across the models implemented (TOR2). The group was than requested to further develop the approach implemented during EWG 22-01 to identify persistence hotspots of the six target species of the West Med MAP using scientific survey data (MEDITS) in combination to commercial spatial data (VMS joined with logbooks), to test existing and additional closure areas (TOR 3). The group was also requested to revise Article 8 of the 2023 fishing opportunities for the West Med MAP (COUNCIL REGULATION (EU) 2023/195), which lists the compensation mechanisms that MSs can implement within the West Med MAP to obtain additional fishing days in 2023 (TOR 4). For TOR 1 a roadmap was discussed and proposed on how to organise the work on socio-economic assessments for the West Med MAP in 2023. The EWG suggests that here should be a three-step process: a scoping exercise (done with EWG 23- 01), a meeting with stakeholders in the middle of the year to discuss their perception of the socio-economic consequences of measures of the West Med MAP and the running of scenarios during EWG 23-11 with results from socio-economic assessments. The EWG notes that the modellers have only the five-day meeting in September to run scenarios. Therefore, it would be crucial for the success of the assessments that the 6 scenarios provided by DG Mare for the EWG 22-11 and with some adjustments for EWG 23-01 will not change for EWG 23-11. It is crucial because those scenarios are already implemented in the models and the implementation of new scenarios would take a lot of time. The EWG proposes to run a few additional scenarios with only one measures to separate impacts of certain measures from the six scenarios where a mixture of measures is included. This would hopefully allow to give an indication what additional efforts may be necessary to reach MSY (in 2025 but also beyond in case the objective is not reached by 2025) and when gains from the implementation of the West Med Plan could be expected. The EWG observes that modelers need to put in additional effort and resources to improve the models for an improved assessment of the West Med MAP. The models were not originally developed for the assessment of the West Med MAP and only cover parts of the area of the Western Mediterranean. Such an improvement of the models could also include work to provide longer-term socio-economic assessments of measures where modelers need to take additional assumptions into account. The EWG notes that it would be beneficial if modelers receive a basic list of assumptions for key economic variables before the EWG 23-11 meeting in September. In 2022, for example, the increased fuel costs were an important factor regarding the economic performance of the fleets. In 2023 fuel costs have decreased but there are other cost categories with a substantial increase. The EWG concludes that DG Mare should not change the 6 provided scenarios substantially before the EWG 23-11 meeting in September. This would allow the modelers to run the models during the meeting and provide the socio-economic results. The EWG concludes that STECF and DG Mare should further discuss how resources could be provided to modelers to improve the applied models. The EWG concludes that the chairs of EWG 23-01 and 23-11 will provide a list of assumptions for the implementation of the models regarding key variables for the socio-economic assessments (short- and long-term). For TOR 2 the EWG discussed what variables and indicators the applied models include and provide. From that discussion a list of indicators was developed for which modelers will be able to provide results in the EWG 23-11 report. The EWG concludes that a list of indicators is provided for which EWG 23-11 will present results in autumn 2023. For TOR 3 the EWG notes that new closure areas for 2023 were implemented only by Spain (EMU 1) (Orden APA/80/2023). All closures areas implemented under the West Med MAP are described to allow testing if their implementation would reduce the catches of juveniles and adults of the six target species of the MAP by 15-25%. The EWG notes that the methodology followed to prioritise, developing and updating closure areas based on their conservation value on the basis of existing closures, proposed closures from EWG 22-01 and new proposals developed by EWG 23-01 based on updated MEDISEH layers is similar to the one used during EWG 22- 01. Updated MEDISEH layers were used for priority species (ARA, MUT and HKE) in combination with old MEDISEH layers for other species and distribution maps of commercial effort from EWG 22-01. Calculation of the percentage of the trawlable GSA area closed to fishing is higher in EMU 1 than EMU 2, therefore the estimation of additional closure areas on top of the existing ones foccused on this management unit. Additional closure areas to test were based on persistence hotsposts from survey data and from areas of high effort in order to impact directly on the reduction of fishing mortality. The EWG notes that the exisiting and additional closures could be tested only in EMU 2 and GSA 7 as for GSA 1, 5 and 6 the extension of the spatially-explicit model ISIS-Fish is not complete yet and it is still limited to a single species (HKE). The EWG notes that closure areas in GSA 7 were tested with two different methods. A static method comparing effort distribution data before and after the closures implementation in 2020, and a dynamic method applying ISIS-Fish. The first method showed how the establishment of the spatio-temporal closure imposed a strong seasonal constraint to the fishing effort in the Gulf of Lions, and that the fishermen community responded quite well to the new rule, although vessels increased their fishing effort along the closure border, with a typical « fishing the line » pattern, especially in the fall. The second model showed that introducing an additional closure did not improve the rebuilding of the hake stock, while changing the closures from seasonal to permanent suggested the strongest effect. The EWG notes that in EMU 2 that temporal closures for the whole fleet reduce global effort while additional spatial closures increase effort towards coastal areas (depths <200m) specifically for fleet segments <18m. Fishing mortality instead is reduced for all species by the introducion of additional closures, specifically those targeting high effort areas, although Fmsy is reached only for ARS and DPS and for already underexploited stocks (MUT 10 and NEP). The EWG concludes that provided that the area in GSA 7 have been chosen according to juvenile hake catch, we can expect that, given the strong observed response of the fishermen community, the closure in GSA7 has the potential to positvely impact the hake recruitment in the long run. Still, two years of implementation remains a short time-scale to observe strong changes in a long- lived stock. More time, observations and analysis will be necessary in the future to further quantify the efficiency of these closures. The EWG concludes that no positive effects on the stocks biomasses are observed in EMU 2 indipendently of the scenarios applied. For TOR 4, the EWG notes that both definitions of “juveniles” and “spawners” are not clearly stated in the Regulation (95/2023) making a bit challenging the evaluation of the criterions. A similar consideration could be done for the term “catch reduction” which is never specified whether it should be considered in number or weight. The EWG could not fully understand if the compliance with the criterions in term of results achieved would be evaluated at some point in the process. The EWG reports that for point a) the literature suggests that the requested threshold of at least 25% of reduction in hake juveniles seems not achievable. For point b) only for Blue and red shrimps the introduction of a 50mm square mesh size seems to lead to the decrease of specimens below 25mm CL at least of 25%. However, for vessels targeting Blue and red shrimps in EMU2, this is a mixed fisheries targeting also Giant red shrimp and it is not applicable to have two different size thresholds for the two species. The EWG suggested that the criterion should be revised providing just one size threshold, ideally selecting the one proposed for blue and red shrimps. According to the IMPLEMED results the same conclusion of point a) can be shared with point c) when a grid of 20mm space bar is used. For point d) EWG cannot find any clear evidence or results which corroborate the fact that specific closures could lead to a reduction in juveniles and spawners at the level requested by the criterion. Point e) refers to an increase of the MCRS for hake (26cm TL) which if not linked with some additional technical measures should just lead to an increase of discards of hake and, likely, black market. For point f), the EWG agreed the temporal closures implemented by Spain and France under the West Med MAP are following the criterion. The EWG concludes that considering the available knowledge and the analysis done during the meeting only the requests based on point b) and point f) could be considered fully in compliance with what the criterion stated, for point d) there weren’t enough information to be fully evaluated if it is feasible or not while the others criterion seems to be not corroborated by the available literature.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) - Evaluation of Joint Recommendations on the landing obligation and on Technical Measures Regulation (STECF-23-04 & 23-06)

    Borges, Lisa; Drouineau, Hilaire; Grati, Fabio; Ligas, Alessandro; Moore, Claire; Raid, Tiit; Rihan, Dominic; Avdic Mravlje, Edvard; Bleeker, Katinka; Bolognini, Luca; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2023)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report contains a review of Joint Recommendations submitted by Member States Regional Groups for the implementation of the Landing Obligation in 2024 and beyond.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – 72nd Plenary report (STECF-PLEN-23-01)

    Bastardie, Francois; Borges, Lisa; Casey, John; Coll Monton, Marta; Daskalov, Georgi; Döring, Ralf; Drouineau, Hilaire; Goti Aralucea, Leyre; Grati, Fabio; Hamon, Katell; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2023)
    The JRC presented a brief review of the current STECF system in place to provide advice on Mediterranean fisheries management and data collection issues. JRC highlighted some structural risks and inefficiencies that currently exist. The review explored some examples of integrated actions that could reduce or mitigate such risks. Such actions as part of a long-term strategy would lead to a proactive advisory process as opposed to the current more reactive sequence of individual steps considered by STECF. STECF notes this initiative from the JRC and aims to revisit the topic in time for development of the next management plan stage, post 2025. On 21 February 2023, the Commission adopted the Fisheries and Ocean package consisting of four documents: the Communication on the functioning of the CFP, the Action Plan “Protecting and restoring marine ecosystems for sustainable and resilient fisheries”, the Energy transition initiative and the report on the functioning of the Common Market Organisation (CMO). The package brings together all different aspects of the EU’s policy on fisheries and the Ocean, looking at the future, and at how we can ensure that fisheries continue to grow in resilience and sustainability. With this package, the European Commission plans on launching a policy discussion with all institutions and stakeholders the EU’s policy on fisheries and the Ocean
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), Monitoring of the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-adhoc-23-01)

    Gras, Michaël; Kupschus, Sven; Konrad, Christoph; Pierucci, Andrea; Hekim, Zeynep; Vasilakopoulos, Paris; Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) (Publications Office of the European Union, 2023)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report deals with the monitoring of the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy.
  • ICES (2023): Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs (WGFBIT).

    Pierucci, Andrea; Nguyen Xuan, Alessandra; Di Lorenzo, Bianca; Bradshaw, Clare; Garcia, Clement; Mangano, Cristina; Vina-Herbon, Cristina; Smith, Chris; Cuyvers, Daan; van Denderen, Daniel; et al. (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), 2023-02-20)
    The Working Group on Fisheries Benthic Impact and Trade-offs (WGFBIT) develops methods and performs assessments to evaluate benthic impact from fisheries at regional scale, while con- sidering fisheries and seabed impact trade-offs. In this report, new fishery benthic impact assessments (ToR A) are shown out for several sub- regions in (French Mediterranean, Celtic Seas). For other regions, updates of the whole assess- ment or specific steps only were presented. To further standardise the different components of the WGFBIT approach across all (sub-)re- gional assessments, a more detail overview of those components was compiled. These compo- nents were slightly different among those regions, related to variation in data availability, envi- ronmental characteristics and implementation possibilities among the (sub-)regions. In WGFBIT, assessments are sometimes based on trawl or grab data, which are sampling differ- ent components of the seafloor ecosystem and can have consequences on the created sensitivity layer. Therefore, there is looked in more detail how the sensitivity outcome (and layers) can dif- fer due to the use of benthic data gathered with different gears (grab/core, trawl or video). The preliminary comparability analyses are performed on different levels: (1) based on co-located sampling; (2) comparing sensitivity maps of the (sub-) area, based on different gears. There were differences observed in longevity distribution at locations sampled with different gears and dif- ferences in data and models lead also to differences in the sensitivity layers. The WGFBIT seafloor assessment framework is not the only way to assess benthic impacts from physical disturbance. A discussion session was held on how the future workflow on advice that ICES WGFBIT assessment contribute to, will be organized. Marine sediments harbour significant levels of biodiversity that play a key role in ecosystem functions and services such as biogeochemical cycling, carbon storage and the regulation of cli- mate. Through the removal of fauna, changes in physico-chemical nature and resuspension of sediment, bottom trawling may result in significant changes in the ecosystem functioning of shelf seas. An assumption of the current PD model is that high community biomass implies higher ecosystem functioning. However, total community biomass does not necessarily reflect changes in species and functional trait composition which play a key role in regulating ecosystem func- tions. ToR D is working on an improved understanding of the link between species functional effect traits and proxies and processes for specific ecosystem functions to improve our ability to predict the impact of fishing disturbance on benthic ecosystem functioning more accurately. Links between species traits and biogeochemical parameters and the impact of trawling on these links are being explored using multivariate ordination analyses using different fauna and bioge- ochemical datasets collected in the North Sea, Celtic Sea, Kattegat, Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. Changes due to trawling in the trajectories of species densities over time and the concurrent changes in the bioturbation and bioirrigation potential of communities are being modelled using a combination of data-driven mechanistic model and a biogeochemical model. We report on the different data analysis methods that ToR D members have developed over the last year.
  • ICES. 2022. Workshop to evaluate proposed assessment methods and how to set thresholds for assessing adverse effects on seabed habitats (WKBENTH3).

    Kenchington, Ellen; Raicevich, Saša; Boyé, Aurélien; Coleman, Paul; Dinesen, Grete Elisabeth; Fernández, Ulla; Hiddink, Jan Geert; Kenny, Andrew; Krawack, Marie-Louise; Kreutle, Axel; et al. (ICES, 2022)
    The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires EU Member States to achieve and maintain good environmental status (GES) across their marine waters. WKBENTH3 convened as a hybrid meeting to evaluate benthic assessment methods and indicators for their potential to meet the criteria described under the MSFD Descriptor 6 (seabed integrity). They evaluated a suite of indicator methods, proposed by participants. Those included five indicator methods de-scribing the ‘Condition of the Benthic Habitat’, primarily linked to D6C5, and six indicator meth-ods for ‘Physical Disturbance on Benthic Habitats’, primarily linked to D6C3. Variants of some of the indicators as well as some other commonly used diversity indices were also assessed. A common dataset with broad regional representation was used to compare and contrast indi-cator performance with 17 benthic invertebrate datasets drawn from a range of pressure gradi-ents (14 over gradients of commercial bottom trawling intensity, 2 over gradients of eutrophica-tion and 1 over a pollution gradient). A meta-analysis of the mean response to trawling across all locations showed that most indicators had, on average, declined at the high trawl impact rel-ative to the baseline and a significant effect of trawling was detected for the indicators Commu-nity Biomass, Species Richness, Fraction of long-lived species, Median longevity, Fraction of sen-tinel species - SoS, Relative Margalef diversity index DM’, Shannon Index and Inverse Simpson. The complementarity of the different indices was computed using Spearman correlation coeffi-cients between each of the indices for all gradients, ordering indicators with Ward’s hierarchical clustering. One of the key findings was the identification of four groups of indices that showed clear patterns of association. Considering the link of indicators to different benthic community properties, WKBENTH3 proposed that the assessment of D6 should be carried out selecting a number of indicators drawn from different cluster groups to ensure that components of diver-sity, species sensitivity and abundance (density and/or biomass – or other proxy linked to benthic habitat functioning) are addressed. WKBENTH3 further ranked model-based benthic sensitivity and impact outputs across broad habitat types (BHTs) in eight different subdivisions in order to contrast indicator responses. The ranking showed a broad congruence, however, every subdivision had variation in ranking of BHTs among indicator methods. Further work is needed to determine the cause of those discrep-ancies and to look more closely at the values and the response curves generated. WKBENTH3 developed a worked example of how to estimate thresholds for GES based on the approach of ‘detectable change’. The approach was applied to each of the different pressure gra-dients and to muddy sand habitats. It was not able to estimate thresholds for all gradients da-tasets as the confidence intervals around some relationships were very wide. Experts highlighted that the assessment of seabed integrity needs to ensure that cross-regional, regional, national and local scale assessments can “talk” to each other and that they are complementarity in terms of what aspects of the ecosystem the respective indicators are capturing and what pressure they are tracking (linked to manageable human activity). Cross-regional assessments will inform whether assessments are measuring the same or similar things, allowing for such crosschecking.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Stock Assessments: demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean Sea. (Version 1.2) (STECF-22-09).

    Simmonds, E.J.; Mannini, Alessandro; Kupschus, Sven; Billet, Norbert; Bitetto, Isabella; Certain, Gregoire; Couve, Pablo; Farré, Marc; García, Encarni; Garriga Panisello, Mariona; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2022-11-24)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines This report documents the outcomes of STECF Expert Working Group 22-09: 2022 stock assessments of demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean Sea from the meeting held remotely from 5th to 11th September 2022. A total of 20 fish stocks considered and 18 were fully evaluated. Two stocks had prior advice from 2021 with catch advice for 2022 and 2023, and this is reiterated here. The EWG reports age based assessments, target Fs, with short term forecasts for 15 of the remaining 18 stocks, of these 15, 12 were also analysed for biomass reference points. Catch advice for three stocks was based on ICES category three evaluations of biomass indices. The content of the report gives the STECF terms of reference; the basis of the evaluations; assessments, reference point calculations; summaries of state of stock and advised catch or F based on either the MSY approach for assessed stocks and category 3 based advice for those without assessments. The report contains the full stock assessment reports for the 15 assessments, the exploration of assessments and category 3 evaluations for the remaining three stocks. The report also contains the STECF observations and conclusions on the assessment report. These conclusions come from the STECF Plenary meeting November 2022.
  • STECF. 2021. Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Stock assessments in the Mediterranean Sea 2021 – (Adriatic and Ionian Seas) (STECF-21-15).

    Simmonds, E.J.; Mannini, Alessandro; Bitetto, Isabella; Cikes Kec, Vanja; Daskalov, Georgi; Isajlovic, Igor; Kupschus, Sven; Mantopoulou, Danai; Murenu, Matteo; Orio, Alessandro; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union,, 2021-12-22)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report is from STECF Expert Working Group 21-15: 2021 stock assessments of demersal stocks in Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean Seas from the meeting held remotely from 18th to 22th October 2021. A total of 9 fish stocks were evaluated. One stock had prior advice from 2020 for 2021 and 2022, and this is reiterated here. Index advice for 2022 and 2023 is provide for one other stock. The EWG reports age based assessments and short term forecasts for 5 of the remaining 7 stocks and surplus production assessments for two stocks. The content of the report gives the STECF terms of reference, the basis of the evaluations and advice, summaries of state of stock and advised based on either the MSY approach for assessed stocks or the precautionary approach for category 3 based advice. The report contains the full stock assessment reports for the 7 assessments, the exploration of assessments and category 3 evaluations for the remaining five stocks. The report also contains the STECF observations and conclusions on the assessment report. These conclusions come from the STECF Plenary meeting November 2021.
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Stock Assessments: demersal stocks in Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean Seas and straits of Sicily (STECF-22-16).

    Simmonds, Edmund John; Angelini, Silvia; Armelloni, Enrico Nicola; Barone, Giulio; Bitetto, Isabella; Costantini, Isabella; Isajlovic, Igor; Kupschus, Sven; Mannini, Alessandro; Mantopoulou Palouka, Danai; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2022)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report documents the outcomes of STECF Expert Working Group 22-16: 2022 stock assessments of demersal stocks in the Adtiat ic, Ionian and Aegean Seas from the meeting held in Rome from 17th to 23th October 2022. A total of 16 fish stocks were considered and 15 were fully evaluated. The EWG reports age based assessments, target Fs, with short term forecasts for 9 stocks of the remaining 6 stocks, four of these do not have short term forecasts as he assessments are not suitable, and one is given ICES category 3 advice. The content of the report gives the STECF terms of reference; the basis of the evaluations; assessments, summaries of state of stock and advised catch or F based on either the MSY approach for assessed stocks and category 3 based advice for those without assessments. The report contains the full stock assessment reports for the 14 assessments, the exploration of assessments and category 3 evaluations for the remaining stock. The report also contains the STECF observations and conclusions on the assessment report. These conclusions come from the STECF Plenary meeting November 2022.
  • Evaluation of the fishing effort and catch regime for demersal fisheries in the western Mediterranean Sea – PART IX (STECF-22-11)

    Pinto, C; Bitetto, I; Certain, G; Doring, R; Garriga Panisello, M; Gourguet, S; Grati, F; Kupschus, S; Leutha, S; Mannini, A; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2022-10-31)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report is the ninth of a suite of STECF EWG reports dedicated to the evaluation of the implementation of the Western Mediterranean Sea Multi-Annual management Plan (hereafter, MAP), following EWG reports 18-09, 18-13, 19-01, 19-14, 20-13, 21-01, 21- 13, 22-01. The group was requested to implement mixed fisheries bio-economic models to run a number of scenarios up to 2030 with varying parameters, to evaluate a fishing effort reductions for trawlers, longliners and netters in association to vessel number reductions for trawlers, increase in mesh size for trawlers, existing closure areas and catch limits for deep water shrimps (ARA and ARS) through five scenarios and draft a mixed fisheries advice. For all mixed fisheries models applied during the EWG (TOR 3), the data from the DCF official data calls and from the western Mediterranean stock assessments, were updated using data from EWG 22-09 (Western Mediterranean stock assessments) and EWG 22-10 (FDI datacall). The same set of updated data were also used to answer TOR 1 and TOR 2. The exploration of effort data time series (TOR 1) highlighted that in GSA7 the French OTB fleet >18m showed a decrease in fishing days counteracted by an increase of the corresponding fleet segments of French OTT which could be potentially due to a shift in gear use, although experts did not suggest specific causes that would drive this shift. The comparison of fishing days for trawlers (OTB, OTM, OTT, PTB, PTM and TBB as per EU regulation 2019/2236) declared in the FDI official datacall and reported in the 2020 and 2021 regulations were reported this year as well. Discrepancies were found also between 2021 data and the 2021 regulation (as per 2020) with the values reported in the regulation being always higher (for all countries but not for all fleet segments) than the values declared in the FDI datacall. Results suggest that effort is decreasing faster than the regulation for most fleet segments and that the reference period 2015-2017 might not be representative anymore of the effort dynamics of the last few years. For Spain and Italy reductions by 2021 are suggested to be higher than the expected reduction by 2022, while this does not happen for France. From the data quality checks very minor issues were highlighted and there was no reporting in the DTMT of these issues. EWG 22-11 would like to ask for clarifications to MSs concerning the association of gear type with the upper level of aggregation fishing technique as it was observed that odd matching were found which could undermine the calculation of fishing days in the comparisons with the yearly regulations. Specifically the gear OTB was often found under the PGP fishing technique and experts present at the EWG were not able to explain this match. The estimated F by gear and GSA (TOR2) allowed updating the analysis of the linear relationship between F and E. As in previous years a linear relationship consistent across GSAs and stocks was not found. The HKE, MUT and ARA stocks showed a linear relationship with OTB in some cases. For HKE 1567 the relationship did not hold once observed by GSA (although this could be a modelling artefact from the assessment model) or in EMU 2. MUT showed a linear relationship in GSA 6 and 7 with OTB and OTT (but results for GSA 7 should be taken with caution as there is a very strong variation in F for a lower variation of effort). ARA in EMU 1 by GSA (and on the overall stock 6-7) showed a linear relationship with OTB. No relationship was found for gears as LLS, GTR (except for MUT in 9) or GNS, neither for the stocks of DPS or ARS. EWG 22-11 suggests that running the analysis at metier level would give more meaningful results, although it should be noted that the metier is a very unstable resolution of fisheries, therefore difficult to define as data sources. To the methodological section of models (Section 5) two subsections were added, one on the models behavior during mid and long term projections and one on the relationship between biomass increase and economic gain. All models at the moment are suggested to be used for mid-term projections but not for long-term projections as the population dynamics are led either by stock recruitment relationships (BEMTOOL), which are not robust at the moment due to the nature of the data or led by recruitment stochasticity (IAM, ISIS-Fish and SMART), based on a random resampling of the time series but not accounting for potential environmental effects. This year for EMU 1 new analytical assessments were available to EWG 22-11 such as ARA 5, DPS 1 and DPS 5-6-7. In EMU 2, instead, 2 stocks were lost as it was not possible to have an updated analytical assessment due to data issues for MUT 10 and ARA 8-9-10-11. As ARA is one of the stocks with a catch limit defined by the EU Regulation 2022/110, the limitations due to the lack of assessment for this species when running the models in EWG 22-11, should be noted. Based on the final draft report from EWG 22-09, stock assessment of Western Mediterranean, which will be presented to STECF in November 2022, but has not yet been endorsed by STECF, the EWG observed that in 2020, 94% and, in 2021, 79% of the stocks were not at MSY. In 2022, the EWG shows that 73% of the stocks are not at MSY and 53% remain severely overfished. Some of the stocks could be already responding positively to the MAP measures, although the MAP has been implemented only since 2020 and the data available are only up to 2021. 9 out of 14 assessed stocks have decreasing fishing mortality, however, there are 4 stocks still behind transition to MSY of which two have declining biomass and increasing fishing mortality. Some stocks need particular attention for their low biomass level. EWG 22-09 identified as below the biomass reference point (Blim): Hake in GSAs 1-5-6-7, Hake in GSAs 8-9-10-11 and Blue and red shrimp in GSAs 1-2. In addition, five stocks are also below Bpa. Despite progress towards MSY, high levels of overfishing remains in particular for hake and deep-water shrimps. Models results (Section 6) showed that for EMU 1 (result only from IAM) none of the proposed scenarios (5 scenarios + status quo) achieved the objective of reaching FMSY by 2025. Red mullet in GSA 6 (MUT6) never reaches its Fmsy range during the simulation period (2022-2030) under any scenario, and hake in GSA 1-5-6-7 (HKE1567) is still above Fmsy in 2025. The other stock that is slightly behind the objectives is red mullet in GSA 1 (MUT1) with all scenarios. However, the other stocks (ARA12, ARA5, ARA67, NEP6, MUT7, DPS1 and DPS567) reach their FMSY range in 2025 with scenarios A to D. Only with the status quo scenario (scenario F) the FMSY range is not reached in 2025 for some of those stocks. Globally, all scenarios foresee some important negative economic impact for French and Spanish trawlers in the short and medium term with a decrease in their Gross Value Added. Even with scenario F (i.e. status quo), French trawler GVA is negative from 2022. This is due to the fuel price used in the simulation in 2022 and beyond from AER 2022 projections, where prices increased a lot compared to their initial values. Due to time constraints, it was not possible to have results from the ISIS-Fish model for EMU 1. For EMU 2 the setting of a maximum catch limit on ARA and ARS allows to approach FMSY for ARS, but not for HKE, even when in combination with other measures such as reduction of fishing days and number of vessels and change in selectivity. For ARS 8-9-10-11, NEP 9 and MUT 9 all scenarios implemented allow to reach FMSY in 2025 except for the status quo scenario (F). ARS, ARA and NEP stocks would benefit of all the scenarios, due to the re-allocation of the effort from the deep-water metier (OTB_DWS and OTB_DES) to the demersal (OTB_DES). This reallocation produces an increase in the fishing pressure on demersal fishing grounds, contributing to partly reduce the underutilization of red mullet in GSA 10, red mullet in GSA 9 and Norway lobster in GSA 9, but also increasing the F of hake. The total revenues and gross value added for the overall fleet are predicted to slightly increase with respect to the lowest values of the time series reached in 2020-2021. For scenarios A, B and D total revenues across all fleets will decrease compared to the SQ scenario (F), remaining above the recent values. A similar pattern is observed for gross value added. Simulations on fuel price increase of 120% (of the average fuel price in 2022) in 2023 onwards in EMU 1 showed an exacerbation on the GVA of fleet segments that already suffered from the management implementation. It should be highlighted that already with the "fuel option 1" (with fuel price in 2022 and onwards from AER projections), the economic performances are already negative, especially for French fleets, as the fuel price has strongly increased compared to 2021. Estimations of GVA in 2022, when effort reductions are still quite limited, are already negative suggesting that the negative GVAs are mainly due to the 2022 fuel price peak. In EMU 2 as well the main effect is to observe a lower GVA; specifically, the difference between the best performing scenario, that is B, and the status quo (F) is smaller. Here as well, the increase in fuel costs impacts more importantly on the GVA, compared to the decrease in fixed costs imposed by the effort limitations. For the application of the bio-economic models for the assessment of the development regarding the implementation of the West Med MAP it was decided to follow the methodology of the AER and, therefore, subsidies are not included in the calculations for income. The financial situation which the bio-economic models present for the year 2022 and beyond depend a lot on the assumptions regarding the development of fuel prices but include no mitigation measures for the fishing companies (like de minimis payments to cover parts of the increase in fuel costs 2022). Therefore, the modelling results show a lower level of gross value added compared to the real situation of the fishing companies. EWG 22-11 suggests that from an economic standpoint, it would make sense to conduct a detailed impact assessment (IA) for the further implementation of the West Med MAP. With such an assessment it would be possible to calculate possible scenarios (including possible mitigation and adaptation measures) regarding the implementation of effort reduction and the possible economic performance of the fishing fleets. The EU MSs affected by the management plan could then discuss possible mitigation and adaptation measures for the fishing sector. As such an IA is not requested by the West Med MAP it would have not follow the usual procedure within DG Mare and can be limited to assessments within the STECF context. EWG 22-11 concludes that the EWG chair and the STECF bureau should discuss with DG MARE how far such an impact assessment would be possible for the next EWG meeting in March 2023. Concerning economic indicators (Section 7), EWG 22-11 suggests that all the different bio- economic modules should report the same economic indicators and specific reference points should be defined in order to evaluate the economic results of the different simulated scenarios in a consistent way. The selected economic indicators should be harmonized with the ones applied by STECF for the assessment of the economic performance of the fleet (AER) and the “balance” indicators. Also, in the STECF report 18-15 (STECF 2018) indicators are proposed which could be possibly applied. Additionally EWG 22-11 highlights that there are no indicators on sociological characteristics in the bio-economic models so far. Some of the models give “social” indicators, but in general these are closely related to the economic ones (gross value added, crew share, employment) and they do not actually produce detailed results on the social impact of fisheries policies. Additional sections (Section 7) were added to review available information on technological creep in the western Mediterranean in the last ten years, but no information seems to be available now to account for this parameter within the models. A new section was dedicated to the development of a standardized ad hoc datacall for VMS and logbook data for MSs involved in the West Med MAP. The aim is to ease communication with MSs on the submission of these data and obtain a standardized format for all MSs that would fasten the work of experts in future EWGs. Due to time constraints, the two spatial modeling groups (SMART and ISIS-Fish) could not fulfill the scenarios requested in the TORs. The parameterization of such models is complex and time consuming, therefore to be able to respond to all TORs EWG 22-11 suggested that it would be very helpful to have scenarios at list a month before the beginning of the working group as it was done for EWG 22-01. Finally, in order to ease the work of EWGs concerned with the evaluation of effort and catch limit regime in the Western Mediterranean, catch at age matrices, F at age matrices and LFDs by GSA and gear for HKE and MUT stocks should be prepared in advance of the EWGs. This work could be held either during the western Mediterranean stock assessment EWG (to be evaluated with the chair of the EWG) or by a short ad hoc contract.
  • Evaluation of maximum catch limits and closure areas in the Western Mediterranean (STECF-22-01).

    Pinto, C; Bastardie, F; Bitetto, I; Borges, L; Certain, G; Gourguet, S; Grati, F; Kupschus, s; Leutha, S; Mannini, A; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2022)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report is the eighth of a suite of STECF EWG reports dedicated to the evaluation of the implementation of the Western Mediterranean Sea Multi-Annual management Plan (hereafter, MAP), following EWG reports 18-09, 18-13, 19-01, 19-14, 20-13, 21-01 and 21-13. The group was requested to implement mixed fisheries bio-economic models to run a number of scenarios up to 2025 with varying parameters and up to 2030 with fixed parameters, to evaluate existing closure areas implemented since 2020 and 2022, maximum catch limits (MCLs) implemented since 2022 and draft a mixed fisheries advice. For all mixed fisheries models applied during the EWG, the data from the DCF official data calls and from the western Mediterranean stock assessments, were the same as the ones used during STECF EWG 21-13, as there were no updates since 2021. The non-spatially explicit mixed fisheries models, IAM (for EMU 1) and BEMTOOL (for EMU 2), focused on the scenarios evaluating MCLs on ARA, ARS and HKE. Reference MCLs for ARA and ARS where obtained from the Regulation EU 2022/110 and from STECF EWG 21-11, while for HKE were obtained solely from EWG 21-11. IAM was updated to differentiate between a coastal and a deep-water trawling within the Spanish fleet segments, as France does not have a deep-water fishery at present. As the model timescale has a yearly resolution, it was not possible to estimate the effect of a monthly MCL. The scenarios considered had a MCL for HKE, one for ARA, and one for both HKE and ARA. These scenarios were run for a decreasing MCL through time (forward scenario: aims at reaching catch at Fmsy by 2025) and an increasing MCL through time (inverse scenario: starting value is catch at Fmsy) accounting for the distribution of stocks by GSA, for a total of 10 scenarios alternative to the baseline. None of the scenarios allowed reaching Fmsy for all six species targeted by the MAP, except when applying a MCL on both ARA and HKE, simultaneously. The results for the HKE stock should be taken with caution as the MCL was applied only to trawlers in these scenarios, but this species can generally be targeted also by longliners and gillnetters. The economic consequences of scenarios accounting for a MCL on HKE, or both ARA and HKE, lead to a massive drop of GVA for the Spanish and French trawling fleets, while economic advantages are observed for longliners and gillnetters. BEMTOOL was updated and refined to consider the different types of fishing activity exerted by each fleet segment at metier level. The model timescale is set at a monthly resolution, so it was possible to run scenarios accounting for a monthly MCL (monthly flexibility was not considered). Only scenarios accounting for a MCL either for ARA or ARS where run, but never in combination (ARA+ARS), nor considering a MCL on HKE, for a total of eight scenarios: forward scenario, inverse scenario, monthly forward scenario, monthly inverse scenario, once with an MCL on ARA and once with an MCL on ARS. Implementing a MCL on the deep-water fisheries suggested an improvement for all stocks except for HKE. ARA and ARS would improve thanks to the control of the MCL, while MUT, DPS and NEP would stay within the upper and lower limits of Fmsy, despite the reallocation of fishing effort from deep to coastal fisheries. The implementation of a reverse MCL did not show a recovery of the stocks. Moreover, a MCL split by month seems to have a lower impact on the catches of ARA and ARS in the short term. The GVA shows an increase for the passive gears fleets (i.e., gillnetters and longliners) and a strong decrease for all trawling fleets in the first two years, with a stable trend over the following years. The spatially explicit mixed fisheries model ISIS-Fish also ran scenarios accounting for MCLs, but only for HKE in GSA 7, implementing a forward, an inverse and a monthly MCL for a total of four scenarios. The forward scenario led to fishing mortalities below Fmsy in 2025 because the value defined for MCL did not account for biomass rebuilding. On the other hand, the fishing mortality achieved using the HCR in the inverse scenario, never fell below Fmsy, because of the unrestricted catches of netters and long-liners. In terms of revenues, both MCL paths led to strong decreases for trawlers. The spatially explicit mixed fisheries models, ISIS-Fish (GSA 7) and SMART (EMU 2), focused on the evaluation of closure areas: existing closure areas, existing closure areas which were seasonal to become permanent, existing closure areas extended to all fishing gears, additional closure areas (only EMU 2), expansion of closure areas by 50% (only EMU 2) and expansion of closure areas by 100% (only EMU 2). ISIS-Fish was applied only for HKE in GSA 7 being the first time this model was used within this working group. The extension of closure areas to all fishing gears (passive gears on top of trawlers) in GSA 7 did not show any improvement, while shifting from a seasonal to a permanent closure showed a decrease in F and an increase in SSB. A decrease of catches of juvenile hake of 20% was observed both with seasonal and permanent closures. Catches of adults increased due to recovery of the stock and considering the low level of initial catches. It should be noted that revenues increased for passive gears but decreased for trawlers. SMART was updated, increasing the spatial resolution of the spatial grid of the model, to be in line with outputs of the ad-hoc contracts preceding the EWG and with ISIS-Fish. None of the scenarios considered for EMU 2 evaluating spatial closures allowed to reach Fmsy by 2025, except for MUT in 10 and NEP in 9 which remains underutilized. SSB shows, nevertheless, an increase across years. None of the scenarios allowed to reduce catches by 20% for all species. All scenarios are associated with a sharp decrease in revenues; spatial closures not widened or seasonal would involve lower decrease of the profits than widened and permanent closures. Loss of profits is more evident for VL12-18 and VL18-24, although the loss is evident for all fleet segments. During EWG 22-01 no explicit comparison between the implementation of an effort regime and a MCL regime was run. The group advices to do so accounting for the limitations encountered in the implementation of MCLs during EWG 22-01. It should be noted that the reduction of GVA is estimated in the short term (up to 2025), but further tests should be done to estimate the trend of GVAs in the mid- and long-term. It is highlighted that given the large number of other species exploited beyond the key ones included in the management plan and in the simulation models, the actual socio-economic impact of the plan remains uncertain. Also, the economic results are presented considering a constant number of vessels, and would differ if the number of vessels is reduced. Additionally, it is difficult to evaluate the socio-economic impact of the MAP on the fleets as at present no socio-economic reference points are used to compare the results against those.
  • Management Strategy Evaluation of alternative approaches for the anchovy and sardine stocks in the Adriatic Sea (STECF-21-04)

    Konrad, Christoph; Winker, Henning; Gras, Michael; Uriate, Andrés; Orio, Alessandro; Pierucci, Andrea; Raid, Tiit; Accadia, Paulo; Mravlje, Edo Avdic; Tičina, Vjekoslav; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2021)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. Within a management strategy evaluation harvest control rules were tuned and robustness tested for the anchovy and sardine stocks in the Adriatic Sea. This investigation was done in support of GFCM and a continuation of the preliminary report (EWG 21-adhoc-02). For the sardine stock no meaningful MSE could be conducted. For the anchovy stock two HCRs were identified to be achieving the management targets and being robust.
  • Stock Assessments in the Mediterranean Sea – Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean Seas (STECF-20-15).

    Simmonds, J.; Bitetto, I.; Vania, C.K.; Daskalov, G.; Ligas, A.; Mantopoulou, D.; Murenu, M.; Orio, A.; Pierucci, A.; Ticina, V.; et al. (European Union, 2020)
    The working group was held in remotely, from 12th to 20th Sept 2020. The meeting was attended by 14 experts in total, including two STECF member and two JRC experts. The EWG had two observers who attended part time. The objective of the Mediterranean Methodology EWG 20-15 was to carry out assessments and provide draft advice for stocks identified in the ToR supplied by STECF. An initial plenary session commenced at 09:30 on the first day. The ToRs were discussed and examined in detail. Stocks were allocated to participants based on expertise. An ftp repository was created ad-hoc to share documents, data and scripts and prepare the report. The stocks were evaluated by the GSA groups identified in the ToRs. Most of the work was concluded by Tuesday 20 Sept, after 7 full days of work, and some additional work at the weekend. Over the 7 working days plenary sessions were held each day to monitor progress and share results. The overall conclusions for each stock were discussed and finalized in plenary on the Tuesday.
  • Stock Assessments: demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean Sea (STECF-21-11).

    Simmonds, J.; Bitetto, I.; Certain, G.; Farrè, M.; Panisello, M.G.; Guijarro, B.; Ligas, A.; Mantopoulou, D.; Martin, P.; Maynou, F.; et al. (European Union, 2021)
    The working group was held in remotely, from 6th to 10th Sept 2021. The meeting was attended by 20 experts in total, including two STECF members and two JRC experts along with one observer. The objective of the Mediterranean Methodology EWG 21-11 was to carry out assessments and provide draft advice for stocks identified in the ToR supplied by STECF. An initial plenary session commenced at 09:00 on the first day. The ToRs were discussed and examined in detail. Stocks were allocated to participants based on expertise. An ad-hoc ftp repository was created to share documents, data and scripts and prepare the report. The stock assessments were evaluated by all participants. Following EWG 21-02 data preparation EWG data was available for assessments much earlier in the meeting, in all cases by Tuesday night. For stocks with assessment issues some sensitivity test were possible, but for DWRS in GSA 1,5,6,7 exploratory assessments were not fully concluded given time limitations. Over the week plenary sessions were held each day to monitor progress and share results. The overall conclusions for each stock were discussed and finalized in plenary on the Friday. After the main meeting it became apparent that the selected assessment for red and blue shrimp in GSA 1 had issues with the form of the model, the model was re-examined and details circulated to all EWG participants. A short 45minute plenary was held on Tuesday 21st and a revised assessment was agreed. This report contains this final assessment and advice based on it.
  • 2019 Stock Assessments part 2: European fisheries for demersal species in the Adriatic Sea (STECF-19- 16).

    Bitetto, I.; Cikes, V.; Costantini, I.; Daskalov, G.; Isajlovic, I.; Ligas, A.; Mannini, A.; Mantopoulou, D.; Murenu, M.; Orio, A.; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2019)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. . This report is from STECF Expert Working Group 19-16: 2019 stock assessments of demersal stocks in the Adriatic Sea from the meeting in Rome Italy from 14th to 20th October 2019. A total of seven fish species were evaluated for GSA 17, 18 and 19. The EWG reports age based assessments and short term forecasts for all seven stocks. The content of the report gives the STECF terms of reference, the basis of the evaluations and advice, summaries of state of stock and advised based on either the MSY approach for assessed. The report contains the full stock assessment reports for the seven assessments, and three exploratory assessments for deep-water rose shrimp for each GSA separately. Advice for deep-water rose shrimp is based on the combined stock, the report also contains the STECF observations and conclusions on the assessment report. These conclusions come from the STECF Plenary meeting November 2019.
  • Stock Assessments: demersal stocks in the western Mediterranean Sea (STECF-20-09).

    Simmonds, J.; Bitetto, I.; Certain, G.; Daskalov, G.; Panisello, M.G.; Guijarro, B.; Ligas, A.; Mantopoulou, D.; Martin, P.; Murenu, M.; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2020)
    The working group was held in remotely, from 7th to 18th Sept 2020. The meeting was attended by 21 experts in total, including three STECF members and four JRC experts. The EWG had two observers who attended part time. The objective of the Mediterranean Methodology EWG 20-09 was to carry out assessments and provide draft advice for stocks identified in the ToR supplied by STECF. An initial plenary session commenced at 09:30 on the first day. The ToRs were discussed and examined in detail. Stocks were allocated to participants based on expertise. An ftp repository was created ad-hoc to share documents, data and scripts and prepare the report. The stock assessments were evaluated by the by all participants. Most of the work was concluded by Tuesday 15 Sept, after 7 full days of work, and some additional work at the weekend. However, two stocks remained to be completed, this extra work was carried out largely by two participant with support from small subgroups. The WG met for a final session on Friday 18 Sept. to conclude the work on one stock. Following extensive trials the last stock could not be assessed with an analytic age based assessment and advice was based on the MEDITS index. Over the first 7 working days plenary sessions were held each day to monitor progress and share results. The overall conclusions for each stock were discussed and finalized in plenary on the Tuesday, though the last assessment was finalised on the following Friday, the last day of the meeting.
  • Methods for supporting stock assessment in the Mediterranean (STECF-21-02).

    Simmonds, John; Bitetto, Isabella; Cikes Kec, Vanja; Guijarro, Beatriz; Isajlovic, Igor; Ligas, Alessandro; Mantopoulou Palouka, Danai; Mannini, Alessandro; Maynou, Francesc; Moutopoulos, Dimitrios; et al. (Publications Office of the European Union, 2021)
    Commission Decision of 25 February 2016 setting up a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries, C(2016) 1084, OJ C 74, 26.2.2016, p. 4–10. The Commission may consult the group on any matter relating to marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines. This report, on methods for supporting stock assessment in the Mediterranean (STECF-21-02), addresses the data checking and preparation for stock assessment once the data has been submitted following the annual data calls. The report provides an overview of the data errors and quality control carried out on both commercial landings data and MEDITS survey data. The analyses reported also address the small fraction of commercial catch with sampling gaps, and how these are assigned appropriate length frequency distributions. The results of these check and assignments are provided by species, GSA and country. Quality checks were carried out on Medits data check consistency of the main reporting files and highlighting where data inconsistencies occurred. Additionally the total landings reported to the European Commission under the Black & Med-Sea data call, the Fisheries Independent Data call and the Annual Economic Report data call were compared at species aggregated to GSA. Some important differences were observed and these are reported. In addition the EWG reviewed a technical report on the sampling of commercial catch in the Greek Fisheries, the review and some suggested further work are included in this report.