Good Fish Guide
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Deep sea trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - North East Atlantic
Stock detail - All Areas
Certification - None
Fish type - White round fish
The uncertainty of the stock structure and general absence of data on species composition of the catches and biological parameters are important limiting factors for the knowledge of these fish stocks. Because of its aggregating behaviour this deep-water species is susceptible to overexploitation. Insufficient information is available to suggest that current levels of exploitation are sustainable, as fishing in international waters is generally unregulated. Avoid eating.
Alfonsinos are deep-water species belonging to a family of fish known as Berycidae or sawbellies. There are 2 species of alfonsinos - Beryx decadactylus (Red bream or alfonsino) and Beryx splendens (Golden eye perch), both are commercially fished. Alfonsinos are a deep-bodied red fish found worldwide in temperate and tropical latitudes, except the northeast Pacific and Mediterranean Sea. They generally live near the sea bottom at depths of 200-400 m but may be found as deep as 1300 m. The greatest resources appear to be around New Zealand, off Portugal and northwest Africa, and in northern Japan. The species have a tendency to aggregate on seamounts potentially enabling large numbers to be caught. Maximum length of B. decadactylus is 100 cm and B. splendens is 70 cm. B. splendens matures when 5 to 8 years old and lives for at least 23 years. Both species grow slowly and have a low resilience to exploitation.
North East Atlantic
There is a general absence of stock data for this species, i.e. no information on abundance or exploitation. Because of its life-history characteristics, association with seamounts and its aggregating behaviour, Alfonsinos is easily exploited. Under-reporting of catches from international waters is suspected in some years. To prevent depleting localised aggregations that have not yet been mapped and assessed, ICES advises that the exploitation of new seamounts should not be allowed. In 2012 ICES advised a 20% reduction in catches, equivalent to a TAC of 280 tonnes. New data do not change the perception of the stock; therefore, ICES maintains the same advice for 2017 and 2018, i.e. catches should be no more than 280 tonnes.
There are no specific objectives for the management of this stock. It is considered incredibly difficult to manage a fishery for deepwater species sustainably; with the current poor data on the vast majority of deepsea fisheries, and poor understanding of the effects on the deepsea ecosystem and seabed, present knowledge is inadequate to provide sustainable advice. Due to the international nature of many of the deep sea fisheries on the high seas, compliance with any regulations can be low, and due to the difficulties in enforcement on the high seas, there can be huge problems with Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported catches.
The total catch in 2015 is unknown. Most (60%) of the catches of Beryx spp. are taken by handlines and longlines (50%) within the Azorean EEZ of Subarea X and by trawl (40%) outside the EEZ on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Discards are assumed as less than 10%.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below . Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.
ICES Advice 2016, Book 9 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/2016/alf-comb.pdf
Sign up to get all the latest marine related news from MCS
The UK charity for the protection of our seas, shores and wildlife.