Increasing understanding of a data poor species to improve resource management

: megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis in the northern North Sea

  • Paul Macdonald

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)

Abstract

Prior to 2010, megrim in the northern North Sea was not considered in the annual stock assessment for the species on the Northern Shelf. The underlying aim of this study was to fill some of the current knowledge gaps in megrim biology and ecology in the northern North Sea, providing improved scientific information that is intended to assist in the development of an informed assessment of the stock in future years.
In recent years, greater utilisation of fishers’ knowledge has been advocated as a potentially valuable source of ecological data in the assessment and management process. In this study, changes in the distribution and relative abundance of common megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis in the North Sea were investigated by comparing three data sources: fishers’ knowledge collected through a structured questionnaire; a
vessel’s haul-by-haul catch data from the personal diaries of a single skipper over a 10-year time-series, and catch rates from fishery-independent surveys (IBTS Q1 and Q3). Trends in the distribution and relative abundance of megrim were broadly comparable between the three data sources.
Results suggest that, in the northern North Sea, fishers’ knowledge and catch data can provide valid data sources which can contribute to the
assessment and management process. A structured approach consisting of a formal agreement, full transparency and commitment between all stakeholders is needed to provide and utilize the necessary data required to provide the most effective and inclusive approach to resource management. Management unit recommendations for megrim on the Northern Shelf have varied in recent years, primarily due to a lack of biological and fishery data.
This study provides the first genetic comparison of megrim populations
across the Northern Shelf.
Date of AwardJul 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Edinburgh
SupervisorChevonne Angus (Supervisor) & Tara Marshall (Supervisor)

Cite this

Increasing understanding of a data poor species to improve resource management: megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis in the northern North Sea
Macdonald, P. (Author). Jul 2014

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (awarded by OU/Aberdeen)