Report of the Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes (WGEF). 17–21 June 2013, Lisbon, Portugal

Type Expertise
Date 2013-06
Language English
Ref. ICES CM 2013/ACOM:19
Other localization
Author(s) ICES
Contributor(s) Tetard Alain, Lorance PascalORCID, Biais Gerard
Sponsor CIEM / ICES
Abstract The ICES Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes, 2013 (Chair, Ivone Figueiredo, Portugal) was held at IPMA, Lisbon, Portugal from the 17–21 June 2013. Seventeen Expert Group members attended, with thirteen more contributing via correspondence. One representative of EC-DGMare attended as an observer to the group for a portion of the meeting. Nine ICES member states were represented.

ICES WGEF meets annually, but normally provides advice on a biennial basis. Although 2013 was not an assessment and advice year, a revision of the fine-scale taxonomic or geographical units for the provision of advice for demersal elasmobranchs was undertaken, which will inform on those assessments to be conducted in 2014.

Two special requests were received:

• A special request from the European Commission to ICES to provide advice on the appropriateness to amend the list of deep-sea sharks, considering:
i) to exclude blackmouth catshark (Galeus melastomus); ii) to include lowfin gulper shark (Centrophorus lusitanicus); and
• A special request from the European Commission to ICES to provide advice on exploring alternative and/or complementary management measures such as closed areas/seasons or effort restrictions which may better protect demersal elasmobranchs.

Twenty-four Working Documents were presented to the Group, mainly relating to survey results and port-sampling schemes. Several working documents presented results from national projects to better understand the spatial and temporal dynamics of demersal elamobranchs, including some species currently listed as ‘prohibited species’.

Most elasmobranch stocks are considered to be data-limited. ICES WKLIFE expert group has explored and proposed data deficient assessment methods as tools to substantiate management advice. In 2013 WGEF conducted an exploratory Productivity and Susceptibility Analysis (PSA) and evaluated its potential use on qualitative assessment and advice, particularly in the case of stocks for which otherwise no advice could historically be given. The utility of this approach in aiding the MSFD implementation and identification of candidate indicator species was also discussed.

Under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive elasmobranchs are a relevant group of species to determine the Good Environmental Status (GES) of ecosystems, including for descriptor 1 (biodiversity), descriptor 3 (commercial fish stocks) and descriptor 4 (foodwebs). In 2011 the WGEF gave an overview of MSFD and the identified elements of WGEF work that could contribute to evaluate the status for MSFD descriptors and determining GES. This year the work progressed by looking at the indicators in more detail, in particularly by analysing their relevance for elasmobranchs and what progress various member states had made.
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