2020 stock assessments

Summaries of the 2020 stock assessments by scientists at Shetland UHI (formerly the NAFC Marine Centre) are now available to download (below).

The assessments cover seven Shetland shellfish species. They were previously available to SSMO licence holders only, in the members' area of this website, where they were posted after being first presented in December at an open meeting of licence holders, held in Scalloway.

The assessment process is subject to regular peer review by fisheries scientists from independent organisations. This scrutiny is in addition to the assessment of stock status carried out by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Recommendations made by the peer reviewers about the stock assessment process are put into practice as part of an ongoing quality improvement process. More information about this is available from the SSMO inshore coordinator.

The feedback from the peer reviews in 2020 included some strong endorsements of the research processes applied in Shetland, including these observations:

  • “Comprehensive spatially and temporally resolved data are available for fishing effort, catch rates, catch quantities and catch composition for both directed fishing and bycatch. This provides an underpinning for evidence-based inshore fishery management that is unrivalled in Europe in its comprehensiveness and length-of-time series.”
  • “The data source provides a sound basis for development of assessment and advice and its value will increase over time . . .”
  • “. . . these assessments provide a sound scientific basis for inference about stock and fishery trends and status within the SSMO brown crab and king scallop fisheries.”
  • “. . . the assessment of brown crab is effective in providing strong scientific evidence of the health of the stock and the sustainability of the current harvest levels.”
  • “In summary, the assessment of king scallops is based on strong evidence and I believe that the conclusion of favourable stock status is justified given the patterns of [landings per unit of effort] LPUE. Nevertheless, spatial structure in the stock and fishery, and also their representation through sampling activities, remain important issues to be resolved for more robust assessments in future. This is not to detract from the high quality of the assessment as it is conducted to date as SSMO is not alone in having to deal with these difficulties in assessing sedentary stocks.”

1. Brown crab assessment

2. Buckies (common whelk) assessment

3. Green crab assessment

4. King scallop assessment

5. Lobster assessment

6. Queen scallop assessment

7. Velvet crab assessment