Joint NGO letter to BALTFISH – spatial mangement of the sprat fishery

Nine organiations from across the Baltic region have written to BALTFISH requesting the adoption of the ICES recommendations with regards to sprat management.
For several years ICES have advised that "a spatial management plan is developed for the fisheries that catch sprat, with the aim to improve cod condition....[and] restrictions on sprat catches taken in the main cod area should be established."
Redirecting the sprat fishery away from subdivisions 25 and 26 would likely provide more food for the cod in these areas, where the cod stock is most dense however is marked by stunted growth. There are clear ecosystem interactions between sprat and cod which managers should take into account.
Spatial management of the fishery would also allow cluepids (herring and sprat) to grow larger in the more northern areas of the Baltic Sea where their population density is higher. In addition, a lower incidence of the M74 disease in salmon populations would be expected as a result of a reduced proportion sprat in their diet.
We recommend that BALTFISH adopts the recommendations for the spatial management of sprat as this would likely benefit all the main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea.
Published on April 25, 2018