Grenadiers of the World Oceans: Biology, Stock Assessment, and Fisheries

Grenadiers of the Northeast Atlantic-Distribution, Biology, Fisheries, and their Impacts, and Developments in Stock Assessment and Management

P. Lorance, P. A. Large, O. A. Bergstad, and J. D. M. Gordon


Abstract.—The biology and fisheries of macrourid species in the NE Atlantic are reviewed. Of about 30 species that occur within that area, the roundnose grenadier Coryphaenoides rupestris is one of the main target species of deep-water fisheries. Roughhead grenadier Macrourus berglax is a minor bycatch of other deep-water fisheries and an occasional target of some small fisheries. Other macrourid species are not commercially exploited because they are too small and/or in too deep waters, but some are also taken as accidental bycatch. There are three main fisheries for roundnose grenadier: north and west of the British Isles, Skagerrak, and Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Skagerrak fishery is mainly for fish meal while the others are for human consumption. Due to data availability, a range of assessment methods has been trialled primarily for stocks to the north and west of the British Isles. Although uncertain, these assessments provide evidence that the stock has been severely depleted. Fisheries were largely unregulated until the early 2000s, but following repeated International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) advice, total allowable catches were introduced in 2003 together with effort and capacity regulations. Roundnose grenadier is the most studied species. It lives more than 50 years, compared to 30 years or more for roughhead grenadier. The limited knowledge of other species suggests a contrasting picture of maximum age ranging from 10 to 40 years. Taking into account the limited biological knowledge for these species, the pros and cons of the current management regime are discussed.