Good Fish Guide
Spurdog, Spiny Dogfish, Dogfish, Rock Salmon or Flake
Method of production - Caught at sea
Capture method - Demersal otter trawl
Capture area - North East Atlantic (FAO 27)
Stock area - Barents Sea to Portuguese Coast
Stock detail - I-IX
Fish type - White round fish
Spurdog is a long-lived, slow-growing, and late-maturing species and therefore particularly vulnerable to fishing mortality. The North East Atlantic stock is now considered to be depleted. Targeted fisheries for the species have effectively been outlawed as there is Zero TAC for the species in 2015 and 2016. Bycatch in non-target fisheries is still thought to be a problem and must be minimised to allow the stock to rebuild. The species is assessed as Critically Endangered in the North East Atlantic by IUCN and has been recently added to the OSPAR list of threatened and/or declining species and habitats.
Spurdog (spiny dogfish, dogfish, rock salmon or flake) are sharks. In the North Atlantic female dogfish grow to a maximum total length of 110-124cm, males 83-100cm. In the Northwest Atlantic spurdog mature at around 60cms total length and at an age of 6 years for males and at around 75cms, at an age of 12 years for females. In the Northeast Atlantic females are reported to mature slightly larger and older at 83cm total length and 15 years. Gestation or pregnancy lasts between 18 and 22 months, one of the longest recorded for any vertebrate, and they give birth to live young. The fecundity of spurdog increases with length, and females of 100-120cm produce a higher number of pups (10-21) than those females below this length. Spurdog forms size and sex specific schools.
Barents Sea to Portuguese Coast
Scientific advice for this stock is that wanted catches (the catch that would be landed in the absence of an EU landing obligation) from July 2016 to June 2017 should be no more than 125 541 tonnes.
The stock suffered a high fishing mortality for more than four decades, and was not managed during this time. There is no management plan for this stock in the ICES area. The total allowable catch (TAC) for this species is currently set at zero, there have been no target fisheries in EC or Norwegian waters since 2011. Discarding takes place but it is not known at what levels. ICES recommends the introduction of a maximum landing length (MLL), starting at 100cm, to protect the mature female spurdog in this long lived species. It is thought this would have strong benefits for the stock and it is hoped that such an MLL would deter fisheries from targeting areas where large females occur.
Historically, spurdogs were subjected to large targeted fisheries but were also taken as bycatch in mixed trawl fisheries. Spurdogs form size- and sex-specific shoals and therefore aggregations of large fish (i.e. mature females) are easily targeted by longline and gillnet fisheries. All target fisheries in EU waters (including for the UK fleet) have ceased - as a zero TAC is in place for EU vessels and is now largely taken as bycatch in mixed demersal trawl fisheries. The survival rate of spurdog released from longline fisheries is high, but is lower in gillnet and trawl fisheries. Norway has a 70cm maximum landing size but it is not known if this is effective at reducing exploitation of mature females.
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 2014, Book 9 http://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2014/2014/dgs-nea.pdf;
ICES 2011. Report of the Working Group on Elasmobranch Fishes, ICES HQ, 20-24 June 2011. ICES CM 2011/ACOM:19;
Shark Trust 2010. An illustrated Compendium of Sharks, Skates, Rays and Chimaera. Chapter 1: The British Isles and Northeast Atlantic. Part 2: Sharks
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