Increasing understanding of a data poor species to improve resource management: megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) in the northern North Sea
In the 2000s the quota for megrim in the northern North Sea was perceived by the fishing industry as being overly restrictive and market-driven discarding was widespread. Until recently megrim has generally been a data poor species and, as such, the quotas in ICES Area IV (the North Sea) have generally been set under the precautionary principle.
This study aimed to fill current knowledge gaps on biological and ecological factors including the reproduction, growth and maturation of megrim, and temporal and spatial changes in their abundance. The study also investigated the level of discarding undertaken by the fleet to provide a more accurate estimate of fishing mortality, and the population structure of megrim on the northern shelf.
It is anticipated that the results of this study will assist in the future management of this species in the Northern North Sea.
Start Date and Duration
The project started in January 2010 and was completed in March 2014.
Marine Scotland (Science); Scottish Fishermen's Trust; Seafish; Shetland Development Trust; and the University of Aberdeen.
Project deliverables included:
- Regular industry updates in the form of presentations and information leaflets as required/requested
- Updates in reports sent to industry and government
- Data and reports provided to the ICES Working Group for the Celtic Seas Eco-Region (WGCSE)
- Two scientific conference presentations
- Peer reviewed scientific publication(s)
- PhD thesis
Macdonald, P. (2014). Increasing understanding of a data poor species to improve resource management: megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) in the northern North Sea. PhD Thesis, University of Aberdeen.
Macdonald, P., Cleasby, I. R., Angus, C. H., Marshall, C. T. (2014). The contribution of quota to the discards problem: a case study on the complexity of common megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) discarding in the northern North Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71: 1256-1265.
Macdonald, P., Angus, C. H., Cleasby, I. R., Marshall, C. T. (2014). Fishers’ knowledge as an indicator of spatial and temporal trends in abundance of commercial fish species: megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) in the northern North Sea. Marine Policy, 45: 228-239.
Macdonald, P. (2013). A rare occurrence of reversal in the common megrim, Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis (Walbaum, 1792) (Pleuronectiformes: Scophthalmidae), in the northern North Sea. Journal of Fish Biology, In Press.
Macdonald, P. & Crego Prieto, V. (2013). Assessment of the population structure of common megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) on the Northern Shelf using genetic markers. NAFC Marine Centre report, 31p.
Macdonald, P., Angus, C. H., Marshall, C.T. (2013). Spatial variation in life history characteristics of common megrim (Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis) on the Northern Shelf. Journal of Sea Research, 75: 62-68.
Macdonald, P., Cleasby, I.R., Angus, C.H., Marshall, C.T. (2012). The effects of quota increases on discarding of common megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis in the northern North Sea. ICES CM 2012/C:01.