The overviews offer a bird's–eye view of fishing activity and impacts across two ICES ecoregions: the Greater North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Each overview takes a historical perspective of its respective sea region, summarizing catches over time, the national fleets in operation, the composition of their catches, and the gears and methods used.
The documents also highlight stock management and the current status of resources, including information stocks relative to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and the precautionary approach.
Mixed fisheries, where multiple species are caught in the same net, are also covered, with consequences and options for their management given. Further background on the North Sea and Baltic ecosystems are provided with sections on species interactions and the wider effects of fisheries on the ecosystem – such as through trawling's impact on the seabed and the bycatch of other fish species and protected seabird and marine mammal species.
The two fisheries overviews follow on from the collection of ecosystem overviews that have been released for six ecoregions (including the Greater North Sea and Baltic Sea) and also build on single-stock advice sheets released annually.
"ICES single stock advice address how much you can take of a stock next year in accordance with the agreed management objectives, but it doesn't say anything about how they are being taken, by whom and how it impacts the ecosystem. The fisheries overviews address this by ecoregion while ICES in the ecosystem overviews puts the fishing activities into the context of the trends and status of the marine ecosystem as a whole," said Chair of ICES Advisory Committee (ACOM) Eskild Kirkegaard.
"The overviews are for anyone with an interest in fisheries or management in the two respective sea regions."