Variation in the abundance of sandeels Ammodytes marinus off southeast Scotland: an evaluation of area-closure fisheries management and stock abundance assessment methods

  • Published source details Greenstreet S.P.R., Armstrong E., Mosegaard H., Jensen H., Gibb I.M., Fraser H.M., Scott B.E., Holland G.J. & Sharples J. (2006) Variation in the abundance of sandeels Ammodytes marinus off southeast Scotland: an evaluation of area-closure fisheries management and stock abundance assessment methods. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 63, 1530-1550.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Establish long-term fishery closures

Action Link
Marine Fish Conservation
  1. Establish long-term fishery closures

     A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 1997–2003 of a seabed area in the North Sea, Scotland, UK (Greenstreet et al. 2006) found that in the three years after long-term closure of a commercial fishery for lesser sandeel Ammodytes marinus there was a peak but no overall increase in the biomass and density of sandeel, overall fishing effort was reduced and catch rates varied. The annual biomass of the two youngest groups of sandeel (young of the year and 1+ year) peaked during the closure (2000–2003) compared to the previous three years, but no overall statistical difference was found between periods (after: 0–233,000 t, before: 0–50,000 t). Similarly, sandeel density peaked in the first year after closure (after: 7–48 fish/m2, before: 4–42 m2), but was not statistically different. Fishing effort was reduced each year during the closure (after: 25–50 d, before: 80–280 d) but estimates of catch rates varied (after: 50–190 t/day, 55–130 t/day). In 2000, the sandeel fishery off south-east Scotland was closed indefinitely in response to concerns that seabird colonies were declining from lack of fish prey. Sandeel biomass estimates were derived from acoustic (six transects) and bottom trawl surveys (19 deployments) from a commercial vessel between May–July 1998–2003. Density data were collected from 137–195 grab deployments done each year, and fishing effort and catch data were derived from official fisheries statistics for the Danish commercial sandeel fishery.

    (Summarised by: Chris Barrett)

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