Marine Institute presents 2013 Stock Book to Minister Coveney

The CEO Dr Peter Heffernan of the Marine Institute presented the 2013 Stock Book to the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine Mr. Simon Coveney today (Wednesday 11 December 2013).  

The function of the Stock Book is to inform management decisions on fishing opportunities for the Irish fishing fleet in 2014. The Stock Book contains impartial scientific advice developed by the Marine Institute while working with other international scientists. This advice is developed using the latest available research, assessments and advice on the fisheries resource.  

The Stock Book forms an important component of the sustainability assessment presented to the Dail annually before the EU fisheries negotiations commence.   This year, advice was given for 59 stocks.  Results show that 34% of the stocks were fished at sustainable levels, while 24% were fished above these levels and 42% were fished at unknown levels.   The EU Commission have stated that the situation continues to improve with 39% of stocks  overfished in 2013 compared to 94% in 2003.  

“The Stock Book publication is key to our fisheries negotiations with the EU.  It is critical I have the latest scientific information and that my decisions are based on sound science that supports sustainable fishing.  We are now preparing for the introduction of a discards ban which will apply to stocks such as herring and mackerel from 2015 and to whitefish fisheries from 2016.   We need to have regard for changes needed in fisheries management in the lead up to the introduction of the ban and the detailed information in the Stock Book will help us in our preparatory work.” said Minister Coveney.   

Minister Coveney also stated that “the seas around Ireland are among the most productive fishing areas in EU waters and in 2013, more than 1,040,117 tonnes of fish, with an estimated landed value of €1.161 billion were available to the fleets fishing there”.

The Stock Book has been published by the Marine Institute since 1993 and has evolved considerably in that time period. The majority of the scientific advice presented in the Stock Book is formulated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The majority of the ICES scientific advice is released in June each year. This is to facilitate consultation with the fishing industry and managers on available fishing opportunities for the coming year.

Peter Heffernan (CEO Marine Institute) stated that “The information contained in the Stock Book represents a huge effort by the Marine Institute to produce the best possible science for the Minister.  It is of vital importance to Ireland during the December Fisheries Council meeting”

The Stock Book is also of interest to a wider audience, including the fishing industry, marine scientists, managers,  environmental NGO’s, third level institutes, financial institutions and those with an interest in the status and management of marine fisheries resources in the waters around Ireland.

The Stock Book is also available electronically on the Marine Institute’s web site at