Current status2015
Short term status2011 - 2015
Long term status2006 - 2015

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Chart C.4.i. Number of stocks which are being fished sustainably

Fish stock data are derived from the Stock Book, an annual assessment produced by the Marine Institute’s Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Services (FEAS) and provides up to date scientific information on the state of the fisheries resources exploited by the Irish fleet. The majority of the scientific advice presented in the Stock Book is formulated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). Scientific advice from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICATT) is also used.

Overfishing does not necessarily mean that a fish stock is at risk of extinction or collapse – it simply means that more could be caught with less fishing activity. This means taking each year a proportion of fish in the sea that is the right size to let fish grow and reproduce at their most productive level. Under these conditions the long term catches from fish stocks will be at their maximum sustainable yield (MSY) i.e. the largest long-term average catch that can theoretically be taken from a species’ stock. Fishing too hard means that fish will be caught too soon, too small and using too much fuel. The European Union and Member States have committed themselves to reach the objectives of fishing at MSY by 2015 where possible.

In fisheries assessments, the stock population capable of reproducing is termed the spawning stock biomass, denoted ‘SSB’. The assessment of Good Environmental Status (GES) of commercial fish stocks is based on whether stocks’ SSB is within the range of biomasses that can sustain MSY. The data presented in the graph is the % of stocks in Irish waters being fished sustainably, unsustainably and of unknown status.

Access to The Stock Books produced annually by the Marine Institute’s FEAS can be found here:


Number of stocks which are being fished sustainably

Unsustainable commercial fishing practices are an internationally recognised threat to marine fish species in and outside European waters. This indicator tracks the number of fish stocks within Irish waters (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Sub Areas VII and VI) that are being fished at sustainable levels according to the Marine Institute’s Fisheries Ecosystems Advisory Service.

Created: 2014-02-07 10:51:49 | Updated: 2017-05-12 16:08:38