Marine Institute’s 2020 Stock Book now available

Marine Institute’s 2020 Stock Book now available. Photo credit Graham Johnston.21 January, 2021: The Marine Institute's 2020 Stock Book is now available online and via an interactive online application. Every year the Marine Institute produces an overview of scientific assessments and advice on 74 key fish stocks of interest to Ireland. The Stock Book is one of the principal annual publications of the Marine Institute, informing the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine prior to the annual Fisheries Council negotiations. The Stock Book also serves as a valuable reference guide to a wide audience, including the fishing industry, managers, marine scientists, environmental NGOs, third level institutes and financial institutions.

The Stock Book, has been published by the Marine Institute since 1993 and in the last few years the publication has also been accessible via an online application ( The app allows users to quickly access the latest and historic scientific advice on most devices with a web browser. Interactive features such forecast graphs showing the consequences of following the scientific advice or choosing other scenarios in terms of catch for 2021 and future stock size in 2022.

The Stock Book integrates scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) with relevant information on Irish fisheries. Marine Institute scientists participate in, and lead, many international working groups at ICES.

Dr Ciaran Kelly, Director of Fisheries Ecosystem Advisory Services at the Marine Institute said, "The interactive app developed by the Marine Institute is shaping thinking on how independent scientific advice can be delivered to fisheries managers and other stakeholders in the future. Ensuring that the best available scientific evidence for decision making is easy to access and transparent to all."

The scientific advice and services provided by scientists to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, is a key focus of the Marine Institute's Strategic Plan 2018-2022. "These scientific services are essential to supporting our sustainable ocean economy, protecting and managing our marine ecosystems and meeting EU obligations" said Dr Paul Connolly, CEO of the Marine Institute.

The Stock Book forms an important component of the sustainability impact assessment presented to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine annually before the EU fisheries negotiations commence. There has been gradual increase in the number of stocks that are sustainably fished in line with Common Fisheries Policy objectives in the last decade. The two most valuable species for Irish fishermen, mackerel and many of the Nephrops (Dublin Bay Prawns) stocks, are sustainably fished. However, there are also a number of cod, herring and whiting stocks that continue to remain at low levels despite management measures aiming to rebuild them.

The 2020 Stock Book is available electronically on the Marine Institute's website ( and as an interactive app ( Most of the scientific work that delivers the Marine Institute's Stock Book is funded under the European Maritime Fisheries Fund scheme.


For more information, please contact:
Sheila Byrnes e. m. +353 (0)87 815 5271
Sinéad Coyne e. m. +353 (0)87 947 7090

Editor's Notes:

The Marine Institute:
The Marine Institute is the State agency responsible for marine research, technology development and innovation in Ireland. The Marine Institute carry out environmental, fisheries, and aquaculture surveys and monitoring programmes to meet Ireland's national and international legal requirements. The Institute also provides scientific and technical advice to Government to help inform policy and to support the sustainable development of Ireland's marine resource. The Marine Institute aims to safeguard Ireland's unique marine heritage through research and environmental monitoring. Its research, strategic funding programmes, and national marine research platforms support the development of Ireland's maritime economy.

International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES):
ICES is an intergovernmental organisation whose main objective is to increase the scientific knowledge of the marine environment and its living resources, and to use this knowledge to provide unbiased, non-political advice to competent authorities. ICES science and advice considers both how human activities affect marine ecosystems and how ecosystems affect human activities. In this way, ICES ensures that best available science is accessible for decision-makers to make informed choices on the sustainable use of the marine environment and ecosystems.

To achieve this objective, ICES prioritises, organises, delivers, and disseminates research needed to fill gaps in marine knowledge related to ecological, political, societal, and economic issues. ICES delivers scientific publications, information and management advice requested by member countries and international organisations and commissions such as the Oslo Paris Commission (OSPAR), the Helsinki Commission - Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), and the European Commission (EC).

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF):
The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is the fund for the EU's maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020. The Marine Institute is implementing three schemes: Marine Biodiversity, Blue Growth & Marine Spatial Planning and Data Collection. The collection and use of biological, ecological and socioeconomic data is maximised by integration across the three schemes, adding value to existing sampling programmes and developing multiple data products for different end-user and policy needs.