Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak



WGNSSKWGNSSKTrueLies Vansteenbrugge, Alessandro OrioFRSGlies.vansteenbrugge@ilvo.vlaanderen.be, alessandro.orio@slu.se31Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak

ICES Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak (WGNSSK) performs stock assessments on the main demersal stocks in the North Sea, Skagerrak, and Eastern English Channel.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The demersal stocks covered by ICES include key commercial gadoid species (cod, haddock, whiting, saithe, and Norway Pout), flatfish (sole and plaice), and shellfish (Nephrops and prawn). WGNSSK also increasingly includes analyses for a number of other bycatch species such as turbot, pollack, grey gurnard, and striped red mullet.

Assessments are based on state-of-the-art methodology and the most accurate data (both scientific indices and catch data as well as other available information). For most stocks, fully analytical assessments and forecasts can be performed, allowing the most accurate annual advice for future catch opportunities. Fishing advice for the other stocks follows the generic guidelines for Data Limited Stocks.

The work performed by WGNSSK is directly integrated in a regional approach for ecosystem-based fisheries management. Multispecies interactions (predation) are taken into account through updated estimates of natural mortality provided by the Multispecies Working Group (WGSAM). Also, technical interactions (species being caught together within mixed-fisheries) are quantified through a métier-based estimation of catch compositions, and these estimates are then directly passed on to the Mixed-Fisheries Working Group (WGMIXFISH) for producing mixed-fisheries advice; both WGNSSK and WGMIXFISH groups  share a common official data call issued annually by ICES.

As with all assessment working groups, there is a set of 'Generic Terms of References' (ToRs) which form the basis of WGNSSK and its work. Additionally, some specific ToRs can be issued, and the group responds regularly to specific requests from the EU and Norway. 

WGNSSK is a dynamic and experienced group, including both permanent members and young scientists.​

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