Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - North East Atlantic
Stock detail - All Areas
Fish type - White round fish
Smooth-hounds are some of the more productive elasmobranchs. Starry smoothhounds are one of the few sharks species whose numbers appear to be stable at present, however ICES is uncertain about its stock status in general. As ICES recognises the relatively high productivity of smoothound compared to other elasmobranch species, there is potential for a smoothound fishery to become sustainable. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) rates starry smoothhounds as being of "Least Concern", however more data on catch and stock levels are required.
Starry smoothhounds are a common shark found inshore and offshore throughout European waters. Females mature at about 85cm and males from 75 to 85cm. They give birth to live young with 7 to 10 pups per litter. The maximum size of the species is 140cm, age at maturity and longevity is unknown.
North East Atlantic
Starry smoothhounds are widespread all around the coasts of northwest Europe. Research surveys and commercial and recreational catches from around the UK indicate it is one of the few shark species whose abundance has been stable or has increased in recent years in the North Sea, English Channel and Celtic Sea. However, ICES is uncertain about its stock status in general and it cannot be fully evaluated in the absence of defined reference points. ICES believes that unlike other similar elasmobranchs, these species can sustain fisheries as it has a relatively higher productivity.There has been a general increase in smooth-hound abundance since the early 1990s. Commercial landings have increased in recent years, although landings data are considered unreliable, due to the widespread use of generic landings categories (e.g. dogfish and hounds). Based on ICES approach to data-limited stocks, ICES advised in 2012 that catches of smoothhounds (Mustelus spp.) in the North East Atlantic should be reduced by 4%. This advice was valid for 2013 and 2014 and is reiterated for 2015.
There is a generic EC Action Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, but there are no specific management objectives for these species. Widespread use of generic landings categories means landings data used for stock assessment purposes is highly unreliable.
Smooth-hounds are taken as a bycatch in mixed demersal trawl and gillnet fisheries. Smooth-hounds are important species for recreational fisheries in some areas. Although landings data are preliminary and underestimate true landings, it is clear that catches have increased in recent years. This increase may reflect the increased abundance and/or improved marketing opportunities for the species (given the zero TAC for spurdog).There is a potential for damage to the seabed from trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species.
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.
ICES Advice 2014, Book 9 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2014/2014/trk-nea.pdf
Sign up to get all the latest marine related news from MCS
The UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife.