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© Kay Panten
Institute of

SF Sea Fisheries


Sustainable exploitation of North Sea and North Atlantic fish stocks

Typische Zusammenfassung
© Thünen-Institut/SF

Fundamental research for the sustainable management of marine resources in the North Sea and North Atlantic - derivation of appropriate management strategies 

As contracting party of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and EU Member State, Germany is obliged to submit national data to the scientific fish stock assessment working groups of ICES and other European organisations.

Background and Objective

For several marine fish stocks, the German fishing quotas represent significant or even dominating fishing activities. As contracting party of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and EU Member State, Germany is obliged to submit national data to the scientific fish stock assessment working groups of ICES and other regional fisheries organisations. The data are the basis for the advice on the sustainable management of fish stocks. Data for stock assessment are collected from representative samples of landings and discards in German fisheries. Discard and by-catch estimations are only possible by onboard sampling of commercial fishing vessels and allow the evaluation of the impact on the marine ecosystem and the long-term effect on marine living resources. With the implementation of the landing obligation by 2015 or 2016, respectively, research to reduce bycatch and discard becomes most important. Fisheries need to be managed in a way that protects fish stocks from overfishing.

Target Group

Science, politicians, the public


Logbook data as well as discard and age-based biological data sampled on our observer trips are provided to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). On the basis of these data, we estimate the status of commerical stocks together with our colleagues from other countries and provide the scientific advice to the European Commission and other interested stakeholders. In addition, we use these data for our own analyses on the German fishing fleet.

Our Research Questions

  • How much is discarded by German fishing fleets?
  • What is the status of fish stocks in the North Sea and North Atlantic?
  • How much can be caught in the next years to ensure a sustainable exploitation?

Preliminary Results

  • Yearly submission of input data for fish stock assessments
  • Advice to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in relation to fish stock management.
  • ICES advice on catch quotas

Links and Downloads


  1. 0

    Costas G, O'Hea B, Alvarez P, Burns F, Eliasen S, Garabana D, Kloppmann MHF, Korta M, Krüger-Johnsen M, Mann L, Nash R, Riveiro I, Ulleweit J, Wieland K (2023) Working Group on Mackerel and Horse Mackerel Egg Surveys (WGMEGS; outputs form 2022 meeting). Copenhagen: ICES, 67 p, ICES Sci Rep 5(20), DOI:10.17895/

  2. 1

    Ulleweit J, Overzee HMJ van, Bangma T (2022) Catch sampling of the pelagic freezer trawler fishery operating in European waters in 2019-2020: joint report of the Dutch and German national on-board sampling programmes. IJmuiden: Stichting Wageningen Research, Centre for Fisheries Research (CVO), 49 p, CVO Rep 22.008, DOI:10.18174/564918

  3. 2

    Beukhof E, Bleijenberg J, Brazier A, Brunel T, Burns F, Campbell A, Campbell N, Codier A, Costas G, Dubroca L, Duncan R, Egan A, Eliasen S, Farrell E, Goncalves P, Henriksen O, Høines A, Holleland S, Homrum E, Ulleweit J (2022) Working Group on Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE). Copenhagen: ICES, ix, 921 p, ICES Sci Rep 4(73), DOI:10.17895/

  4. 3

    Kelly C, Ball J, Bartolino V, Berg F, Berges B, Hakansson KB, Campbell N, Egan A, Hintzen NT, Ianelli J, Kempf A, Kvamme C, Mackinson S, Mosegaard H, Nash RDM, Pastoors MA, Pert C, Reedtz Sparrevohn C, Rohlf N, Trijoulet V, Damme CJG van (2021) Inter-Benchmark Protocol on North Sea Herring (IBPNSHerring 2021). Copenhagen: ICES, 168 p, ICES Sci Rep 3(98), DOI:10.17895/

  5. 4

    Girardin R, Miethe T, Alvestad AH, Batsleer J, Baudron A, Berg C, Bleeker K, Brazier A, Chen C, De Oliveira JA, Halouani G, Haslob H, Kempf A, Kokkalis A, Mesquita C, Mosqueira I, Nawri N, Needle CL, Nielsen A, Taylor MH, et al (2021) Working Group on the Assessment of Demersal Stocks in the North Sea and Skagerrak (WGNSSK). Copenhagen: ICES, 1281 p, ICES Sci Rep 3(66), DOI:10.17895/

  6. 5

    Campbell A, Berg F, Beukhof E, Bjarnason S, Björnsson H, Brunel T, Burns F, Campbell N, Catarino R, Chetyrkin A, Costas G, Dubroca L, Duncan R, Egan A, Eliasen S, Goncalves P, Henriksen O, Hjorleifsson E, Hojnes A, Ulleweit J, et al (2021) Working Group on Widely Distributed Stocks (WGWIDE). Copenhagen: ICES, 874 p, ICES Sci Rep 3(95), DOI:10.17895/

  7. 6

    Ulrich C, Vermard Y, Dolder PJ, Brunel T, Jardim E, Holmes SJ, Kempf A, Mortensen LO, Poos JJ, Rindorf A (2017) Achieving maximum sustainable yield in mixed fisheries: a management approach for the North Sea demersal fisheries. ICES J Mar Sci 74(2):566-575, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsw126

  8. 7

    Rindorf A, Cardinale M, Shephard S, De Oliveira JA, Hjörleifsson E, Kempf A, Luzenczyk A, Millar C, Miller DC, Needle CL, Simmonds J, Vinther M (2017) Fishing for MSY: using "pretty good yield" ranges without impairing recruitment. ICES J Mar Sci 74(2):525-534, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsw111

  9. 8

    Rindorf A, Mumford J, Baranowski P, Worsoe Clausen L, Garcia D, Hintzen NT, Kempf A, Leach A, Levontin P, Mace P, Mackinson S, Maravelias CD, Prellezo R, Quetglas A, Tserpes G, Reid DG (2017) Moving beyond the MSY concept to reflect multidimensional fisheries management objectives. Mar Policy 85:33-41, DOI:10.1016/j.marpol.2017.08.012

  10. 9

    Stäbler M, Kempf A, Mackinson S, Poos JJ, Garcia C, Temming A (2016) Combining efforts to make maximum sustainable yields and good environmental status match in a food-web model of the southern North Sea. Ecol Model 331:17-30, DOI:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2016.01.020

  11. 10

    Cormon X, Kempf A, Vermard Y, Vinther M, Marchal P (2016) Emergence of a new predator in the North Sea: evaluation of potential trophic impacts focused on hake, saithe, and Norway pout. ICES J Mar Sci 73(5):1370-1381, DOI:10.1093/icesjms/fsw050

  12. 11

    Akimova A, Nuñez-Riboni I, Kempf A, Taylor MH (2016) Spatially-resolved influence of temperature and salinity on stock and recruitment variability of commercially important fishes in the North Sea. PLoS One 11(9):e0161917, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0161917

  13. 12

    Kempf A, Mumford J, Levontin P, Leach A, Hoff A, Hamon KG, Bartelings H, Vinther M, Stäbler M, Poos JJ, Smout S, Frost H, Burg S van den, Ulrich C, Rindorf A (2016) The MSY concept in a multi-objective fisheries environment - lessons from the North Sea. Mar Policy 69:146-158, DOI:10.1016/j.marpol.2016.04.012

  14. 13

    Steenbergen J, Ulleweit J, Machiels M, Nijman R, Panten K, Helmond E van (2015) Discards sampling of the Dutch and German brown shrimp fisheries in 2009-2012. Wageningen: IMARES, 40 p

  15. 14

    Keyl F, Kempf A, Sell AF (2015) Sexual size dimorphism in three North Sea gadoids. J Fish Biol 86(1):261-275, DOI:10.1111/jfb.12579

  16. 15

    Overzee HMJ van, Helmond ATM van, Ulleweit J, Panten K (2013) Discard sampling of the Dutch and German pelagic freezer fishery operating in European waters in 2011 and 2012. Stichting DLO Centre for Fisheries Research (CVO), 68 p, CVO Rep 13.013

  17. 16

    Kraak SBM, Bailey N, Cardinale M, Darby C, De Oliveira JA, Eero M, Graham N, Holmes SJ, Jakobsen T, Kempf A, Kirkegaard E, Powell J, Scott RD, Simmonds EJ, Ulrich C, Vanhee W, Vinther M (2013) Lessons for fisheries management from the EU cod recovery plan. Mar Policy 37:200-213, DOI:10.1016/j.marpol.2012.05.002

  18. 17

    Ulleweit J, Stransky C, Panten K (2010) Discards and discarding practices in German fisheries in the North Sea and Northeast Atlantic during 2002-2008. J Appl Ichthyol 26:54-66, DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0426.2010.01449.x

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