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Norway Lobster, Langoustine, Dublin Bay prawn or scampi

Nephrops norvegicus

Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Fladen Ground
Stock detail - IVa (Management Area G, FU 7)
Accreditation -
Fish type - Shellfish

Sustainability rating Click for explaination of rating

This fish, caught by the methods and in the area listed above, is not the most sustainable choice of fish to eat. Click on the rating icon above to read more and on the alternatives tab below to find more sustainable fish to eat.


Sustainability overview

Fladen Ground is a relatively low density stock covering around 30,000 sq km. Over 95% of landings are by Scottish vessels, with nephrops constituting around 40% of bycatch from a mixed demersal fishery. The Fladen Ground fishery has not changed significantly in recent years, and abundance remains high, although now below the target level. The stock is harvested sustainably. Trawl fisheries for scampi (nephrops) are associated with large quantities of bycatch, including overfished species such as cod and juvenile fish. Increase the sustainability of the scampi you eat by choosing pot or creel caught rather than trawled scampi. If choosing trawled fish ask for Nephrops trawled in nets using separator grids and larger meshes (80 mm is the mesh size in general use) to increase their selectivity and reduce bycatch and discards.

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 6cm, 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 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
Fladen Ground

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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. No specific management objectives are indicated for this area. The Fladen Ground (FU 7) fishery has not changed significantly in recent years, and abundance remains high. The stock has declined from the highest observed value in 2008 and is now just below the MSY B trigger. The harvest rate has fluctuated but is still below FMSY and the stock harvested sustainably. ICES advise that landings in 2014 should be no more than 8959 tonnes (10,000 t in 2013).

Management

Capture information

Over 95% of the landings are taken by Scottish vessels. Nearly 75% of landings are made by single-rig vessels and 25% by twin-rigs. 80 mm mesh is the most common mesh size. The Scottish Industry operates under the Conservation Credits Scheme and has implemented improved selectivity measures in gears which target Nephrops as wells as real-time closures to reduce unwanted bycatch of cod and other species. Since 2010 a number of vessels are reported to be using large square mesh panels (of up to 160 mm). Females are mainly caught in the summer months. When carrying eggs (known as being 'berried'), which usually occurs between early autumn and spring of the next year, they stay in their burrows and cannot be caught by trawls. However, in fisheries where there is high fishing effort in summer, fishing mortality can be as high on females as on males. The minimum landing size for nephrops in EU waters is 20-25 mm (40mm Skagerrak/Kattegat) total carapace (body) length depending on area of capture.

Read more about capture methods


References
ICES Advice 2013, Book 6

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