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Monkfish, Anglerfish

Lophius piscatorius and Lophius budegassa

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Beam trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Southwest Stock - West of Ireland, English Channel, Bristol Channel, South East Ireland
Stock detail - VIIb-k, VIIIa,b, d
Accreditation -
Fish type - White round fish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is not a good choice of sustainable fish to eat and should be only eaten very occasionally. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find more sustainable fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

The state of the stock, comprising both white and black-bellied anglerfish, in this area is unknown, but thought to be stable in the long-term. Stock trends show an increase in recent years. The monkfish or angler species are vulnerable to over-exploitation as they are long-lived and late to mature. Also the majority of the catch, particularly in trawl fisheries, consists of immature fish. To increase the sustainability of fish eaten from this stock, ensure fish is above or equal to the size at which it matures - at least 70cms. Choose gillnet caught fish where available. The C&WSTG English Channel megrim, monk and sole beam trawl fishery is currently being assessed against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

Biology

Anglerfish are so called because they possess a fishing lure at the tip of a specially modified dorsal ray, with which they can entice prey. They are a long-lived species. Maximum reported age is 24 years.Females mature at 9-11 years at about 70 - 90cm, males at around 6 years at 50cms. Females can attain a length of 2m and a weight of 40kgs. Males rarely grow beyond 1m. There is general consensus amongst scientists that there is one stock and that this spawns in spring and early summer, in deep water off the edge of the continental shelf to the west of Scotland, in waters down to 1,000m. Eggs are released in a buoyant, gelatinous ribbon or 'egg veil' that may measure more than 10m in length. Anglerfish are also found in coastal waters. Two species occur in most areas, L.piscatorius (white) and L.budegassa (black-bellied), although catches are almost exclusively of the former.

Stock information

Stock area
Southwest Stock - West of Ireland, English Channel, Bristol Channel, South East Ireland

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Stock information
No analytical assessment is available for this stock and reference points are not defined. The long-term trend for both species caught in this area is stable. For L.piscatorius the average indicator of stock size in the last two years (2011-12) is 55% higher than in the previous three years (2008-10). ICES advises that landings may be increased by 20% and should be no more than 37,450 t in 2014.

Management

Capture information

Beam trawling is associated with substantial damage to seabed flora and fauna and discarding of juvenile fish. However, a distinction can be made between the type of beam trawlers operating in the southern North Sea and those operating off the south coast of England (ICES Area VII), for example. The main distinction is in the size of the vessel and the length of beam used. Beam trawlers operating in the North Sea are typically 30-45m in length and have an aggregated beam length of 24m (12m beams on each side) in vessels with engines of 800-2,500hp. By comparison, a significant number of vessels operating in Area VII are under 24m, have 300hp engines and are restricted by their size and power to an aggregated beam length of 9m. Also the majority of beam trawlers in Area VII use wheels on their fishing gear instead of skid shoes. This reduces fuel consumption and the impact of the gear on the seabed. Look for vessels which are involved in the "Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme" for assurance of scientific co-operation, best environmental practices and experimentation with benthic release panels to reduce impact on bottom dwelling species. Trawling is also one of the main fishing methods associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. However, a recent study in the southwest has shown that discards can be reduced by over 50% in some cases, by using new, innovative fishing gear. Recently there has been increased enforcement of anglerfish quotas.

Read more about capture methods

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.

Alaska pollock, Walleye pollock Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Bass, seabass Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Black bream or porgy or seabream

Bream, gilthead Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Cod, Atlantic Cod Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Coley, Saithe Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Haddock Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Hake, Cape

Japanese amberjack, Yellowtail or Seriola

Meagre

Pouting or Bib

Sturgeon Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.

Tilapia

Whiting Depending on how and where it's caught this species ranges from sustainable to unsustainable. Click the name to display only the sustainable options.


References
ICES Advice 2013, Book 5

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