Working Group on Cephalopod Fisheries and Life History (WGCEPH; outputs from 2019 meeting)
The Working Group on Cephalopod Fisheries and Life History (WGCEPH) improves knowledge about and the assessment of cephalopods as an exploited resource WGCEPH report provides information on status and trends in cephalopod stocks; preliminary assessments of selected stocks update information on life history parameters; social and economic profile of the cephalopod fisheries; recommended tools for identification cephalopod species; updated best practices for data collection. Cuttlefish landings from the main fishing grounds (English Channel and Bay of Biscay) have decreased in recent years, although landings by UK vessels in the English Channel have increased. Squid landings are still mainly reported at family level, making it harder to infer stock status and trends. Loliginid squid landings have increased in northern areas and decreased in southern areas. Survey data suggest a decrease in abundance of L. forbesii and an increase in L. vulgaris. Abundance of ommastrephid squid fluctuates widely with occasional peaks, the timing and size of which varies between species and areas. Octopus are mainly landed in southern Europe and comprise mainly of Octopus vulgaris. Abundance varies widely from year to year with no clear trends. Commercial LPUE and survey CPUE follow similar trends in some areas. An update is provided on progress with stock assessment. An assessment exercise using pro-duction models gave satisfactory results for loliginid squid and cuttlefish in several areas. A forecasting model for Octopus vulgaris, driven by environmental variables and a recruitment index, is also presented. WGCEPH members organised a theme session (H, on non-quota and data-poor species) at the ICES Annual Science Conference (ASC) 2019. Several presentations during this session, linked to WGCEPH work, are summarised. New review and synthesis work carried out on cephalopod life history, management of octopus fisheries and markets for cephalopods is summarised and is expected to be submitted for publication shortly. Relevant work was also presented at the ICES ASC 2019. Progress with North Sea identification guide is described and the list of identification guides and keys has been updated. Current fishery data collection for cephalopods in the EU is described and proposals for improved data collection are presented. Fundamentally, this requires full identification of cephalopod landings to species. Increased frequency of sampling would facilitate in-season stock assessment.