The Marine Institute‘s 2020 Stock Book is now available online and via an interactive online application. Every year the Marine Institute produces an overview of scientific assessments and advice on 74 key fish stocks of interest to Ireland.
The Stock Book is one of the principal annual publications of the Marine Institute, informing the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine prior to the annual Fisheries Council negotiations. The Stock Book also serves as a valuable reference guide to a wide audience, including the fishing industry, managers, marine scientists, environmental NGOs, third level institutes and financial institutions.
The Stock Book, has been published by the Marine Institute since 1993 and in the last few years the publication has also been accessible via an online application (https://shiny.marine.ie/stockbook/). The app allows users to quickly access the latest and historic scientific advice on most devices with a web browser. Interactive features such forecast graphs showing the consequences of following the scientific advice or choosing other scenarios in terms of catch for 2021 and future stock size in 2022.
The Stock Book integrates scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) with relevant information on Irish fisheries. Marine Institute scientists participate in, and lead, many international working groups at ICES.
Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services at the Marine Institute said, “The interactive app developed by the Marine Institute is shaping thinking on how independent scientific advice can be delivered to fisheries managers and other stakeholders in the future. Ensuring that the best available scientific evidence for decision making is easy to access and transparent to all.”
The scientific advice and services provided by scientists to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is a key focus of the Marine Institute’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022. “These scientific services are essential to supporting our sustainable ocean economy, protecting and managing our marine ecosystems and meeting EU obligations” said Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute.
The Stock Book forms an important component of the sustainability impact assessment presented to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine annually before the EU fisheries negotiations commence. There has been gradual increase in the number of stocks that are sustainably fished in line with Common Fisheries Policy objectives in the last decade. The two most valuable species for Irish fishermen, mackerel and many of the Nephrops (Dublin Bay Prawns) stocks, are sustainably fished. However, there are also a number of cod, herring and whiting stocks that continue to remain at low levels despite management measures aiming to rebuild them.