Recommendations on rock lobster TAC’s for the Tristan Group of Islands for the 2012/13 season
Based on a similar approach as used last year, but updated to take account of recent decisions about the probable impact of the OLIVA incident on the resources at Nightingale and Inaccessible, TACs have been calculated for all four islands which aim to achieve and maintain CPUE at the levels that would have applied in 2011 had it not been for the Oliva incident. The results suggest reductions in the present TAC at Inaccessible, Tristan and Nightingale. However, given the intended move to a management procedure approach for setting catch limits by next year, and taking cognisance of the greater industrial stability that such an approach intends, it is recommended that the TAC reductions as now calculated be considered for phasing in over time. Some immediate reduction is recommended for Inaccessible, where the evidence for a decline in resource status is clear. However for Tristan and Gough, the suggested reduction follows not because current catches are unsustainable, but rather because they are expected to lead over time to some reduction in CPUE. Note that the recommendations for Nightingale and Inaccessible should be considered as provisional, pending further test fishing results to become available during the season for the former, and revaluation of the impact of the Oliva oil spill together with investigation of the merits of decreasing the size limit at the latter where considerable discarding is occurring at present.