WKAnglerfish is a two-part benchmark workshop aimed at improving the scientific advice on anglerfish (Lophius spp.) stocks in the Northeast Atlantic. The report covers both workshops with the first workshop focused on the compilation and evaluation of data available for use by the assessment workshop. The data evaluation workshop, at IPMA in Portugal, was attended both physically and remotely by eleven scientists from Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, UK and the Netherlands.
Landings, discards, survey data and commercial catch and effort data for all anglerfish stocks were reviewed and collated during the data workshop. Data on proportion of each species in the catch, weight, natural mortality, maturity and growth were also reviewed. Stock structure remains a major source of uncertainty. Given the spatial extent of the species and potential overlap of each unit, further investigation would be recommended to identify unique biological stock units with associated mixing rates. Other areas which require further investigation is the need for survey data on the larger fish and sampling levels to fully cover sex and species-specific data.
All the terms of reference were covered during the data workshop and an agreement was reached on the data for to use for an assessment, projections and reference points of each stock reviewed.
The second workshop, attended by 16 scientists and three reviewers, focused on the assessment, reference points and forecasts methods of the six stock units. For the two southern units in ICES divisions 8.c and 9.a, the assessments remained as category 1 where Lophius budegassa included a change of method used and Lophius piscatorius re-mained in an SS3 framework with a number of refinements to the model structure. For the two northern shelf stocks in ICES area 7 and divisions 8.abde, Lophius piscatorius had an agreed category 1 assessment with reference points and forecast. The stock unit Lophius budegassa, remained a category 3 with a change to the data used for assessing the status of the stock and subsequent advice. For the two most northerly stocks there was no change to the assessments or category.
For those stocks with category 1 assessments, the workshop reviewed and agreed on the methods used to calculate reference points and forecasts. Those with category 3 assessment methods, proxy reference points were not available and future work is rec-ommended.