UK monkfish - gillnet/trawl

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Project UK is working towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK fisheries by running Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) on 12 UK fisheries that have been selected by the UK seafood supply chain. They were selected due to their importance for the UK market.

Two species of monkfish (also called anglerfish), Lophius piscatorius and L. budegassa, are caught in an important set of fisheries in the western Channel and Western Approaches. It should be noted that the gillnet UoA is composed of (i) trammel nets (>220 mm mesh size) GTR and (ii) a combination of set gillnets (anchored) GNS, gillnets and entangling nets (not specified) GEN and gillnets (not specified) GN, all >220 mm. 


Although separate stocks, these are managed together through a shared TAC. ICES’ advice is provided for both species separately but only L. piscatorius has reference points and uses a precautionary, MSY approach.   ICES consider this to be a Category 3 stock where management is essentially based on recent trends, rather than well-defined harvest rules.  Under P1, this Action Plan therefore seeks to address this through better single species management, a reduction in unwanted target catch through the development of alternative management measures and the introduction of probabilistic analysis of stock assessment e.g. include confidence limits.


In P2, a major part of the plan is developed to improving the major weakness of the fisheries identified by the pre-assessment, the management of secondary species caught in these fisheries.  This will cover other fish as well as out of scope species such as seabirds and marine mammals, esp. for the gillnet fisheries, as well as ETPs.  The Action Plan also looks at reducing the impact of these fisheries – especially the beam trawl segment – on habitats, especially VMEs.  The plan also calls for a Scale Intensity Consequence Analysis (SICA) analysis of the impact of beam trawling on the ecosystem.

Under P3, the plan seeks the development of a fisheries -specific management plan that that includes explicit short and long-term objectives.  This should formalise the existing harvest strategy and harvest control rules for both species of anglerfish.  It also calls for external evaluation of the management of these anglerfish fisheries, possibly though a final pre-assessment before the FIP is concluded and the fisheries might be considering entering into full MSC assessment process.


FIP Description 

Project UK is working towards an environmentally sustainable future for UK fisheries by running Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) on 12 UK fisheries that have been selected by the UK seafood supply chain.

FIP Objective(s) 

By April 2022, the FIP aims to address the following:

  • Meet the 80+ score for each MSC performance indicator within 5 years (April 2017- 2022) and be able to enter MSC full assessment. 
  • Support fisheries with the tools to implement changes and ensure their sustainable future as they move towards MSC certification
  • Follow the step by step definition of a credible FIP involving four key stages, each with associated tools & support mechanisms:
  1. Undertake MSC pre-assessment
  2. Develop an action plan for improvement
  3. Implement actions & track progress
  4. Enter full MSC assessment
  • Address and aim to improve all principle indicators scoring below 80 across the MSC as determined in the pre-assessments 
  • Use the model to establish a 'FIP conveyor belt' to identify, improve and certify UK fisheries
  • Track progress consistently and transparently, producing review reports on an annual basis using a consultant body
FIP Type 
FIP Stage 
Stage 5: Improvements on the Water
Start and Projected End Dates
April 2017
April 2022
Next Progress Report Due 
Friday, December 31, 2021
Common Name 
Scientific Name
Lophius piscatorius & L. budegassa
Gear Type 
Bottom Trawl
Trammel Net
FAO Major Fishing Area
Area 27 (Atlantic, Northeast)
Exclusive Economic Zones
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)
Estimated Total FIP Landings 
2,500 metric tons
Estimated Total Fishery Landings 
26,451 metric tons
Landings Date 
December 2019

FIP at a Glance

4% 36% 57% 4%
April 01, 2017
11% 50% 36% 4%
Progress Rating

A - Advanced Progress
Reserved for comprehensive FIPs that have a Stage 4 or 5 result within the past 12 months.

B - Good Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 in more than 12 months AND Stage 3 activity in the last year; OR a basic FIP that has achieved Stage 4 or 5 achievements within the past 12 months.

C - Some Recent Progress
A FIP that has achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 12 (but less than 24) months but has not generated a Stage 3 result within the past 12 months OR a FIP younger than a year that has never achieved a Stage 4 or 5 result but has completed a Stage 3 activity.

D - Some Past Progress
A FIP for which the most recent publicly reported Stage 4 or 5 result is more than 24 (but less than 30) months.

E - Negligible Progress
A FIP older than a year that has not reported a Stage 4 or 5 result in more than 30 month (but less than 36) months; OR a FIP younger than 1 year that has not reported a Stage 3 activity.

The ratings are currently derived by SFP from publicly available data on FIP websites, including, and are determined using the following methodology: View PDF
A Advanced Progress
Actions Complete

This pie chart represents completed environmental actions. Non-completed environmental actions may contain completed sub-tasks that are not illustrated here. For more information on environmental action progress visit the Actions Progress tab.

  • Complete
  • Incomplete
Next Update Due FisheryProgress requires a FIP to provide update reports every six months, and two missed reports will render the FIP inactive. If a report is overdue, this date will appear red.
Dec 2021
Target End Date
Apr 2022

FIP Leads

Organization Name 
Facilitated by the Marine Stewardship Council
Organization Type 
Primary Contact 
Jo Pollett
FIP Identification Number The FIP Identification Number is automatically generated by FisheryProgress when a FIP profile is created. While the number itself is not meaningful, they are used by NGOs, academia, and industry to refer to FIPs in a consistent way.