Pollack is an economically and socially important species for communities along the Devon and Cornwall coast, and has experienced a 72% decline in commercial landings over the last 20 years. A lack of evidence hampers fisheries management, so the Pollack FISP will collect vital data about pollack movement, habitat choice, populations and life history.
Fisheries data will also be collected by project partners. Anecdotal reports from commercial and recreational fishers have reported declining catch rates, with boats having to increase effort to capture fewer and smaller fish. To provide empirical evidence and inform future sustainable management, the project will analyse historic trends in pollack populations using catch logbooks from charter boats and records of trophy catches held at angling clubs. For the duration of the project, a consortium of charter vessels will collect Catch Per Unit Effort data.
In addition, a subsample of fish will be retained to provide biological data for stock assessment. Stomach contents will be analysed to identify prey species, and gonads will be used to calculate spawning activity. Each fish will be measured and aged, providing information on their size at different ages and at maturity.