A red herring from the Öresund (ICES40G2): the apparent recovery of the Large Fish Indicator (LFI) in the North Sea hides a non-trawled area

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Abstract

As reported in a number of previous papers in this journal, the Large Fish Indicator (LFI) was developed for the North Sea. ICES Statistical Rectangle 40G2 was accidentally included in the North Sea calculations of LFI for 2004, 2007 and 2008. This inclusion significantly increased the LFI and was subsequently removed from the analysis. We identify and discuss three reasons to revisit rectangle 40G2 when considering LFI for the North Sea: (i) according to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the area belongs to the North Sea, (ii) it is a geographically well-defined area where technical regulations have prevented the use of trawls since the 1930s, and (iii) there is evidence of a productive and rather closed cod (Gadus morhua) subpopulation unit in the area, which is an important species for the North Sea LFI.

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