Historically, the English Channel population of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis was considered a non-target species for commercial fishers with low values and insignificant effort expressed on the stock. Nowadays, the cuttlefish fishery is an important component of the activities within the Hastings fleet. The seasonal fishery has an annual average of 41 tonnes worth £70,375 landed to Hastings.

In the Sussex IFCA District, mature cuttlefish are targeted by artisanal fisheries. The fishery is managed under an IFCA Shellfish Permit Byelaw. A lack of control measures for the offshore fisheries targeting cuttlefish and an increase in the market value has led to increased exploitation of the over wintering population.

This project aims to investigate the present state of the cuttlefish stock in the English Channel and develop recommendations to increase sustainability by increasing egg survival post-fishing effort. The University of Brighton is responsible for WP3: Assessing the survival rate and egg quality under natural and laboratory conditions

Project targets:
•Estimate the survival rate of eggs removed from egg receptors and returned to the sea (lab experiments)
•Use biochemical and histological analyses to infer information on the size, age, and brood condition of maternal cuttlefish and suggest the impact this may have on the fitness of any ensuing offspring
•Dissemination of results (seminar)
Benefit: An improved understanding of the breeding cycles of cuttlefish within the English Channel. Elucidate the impacts on cuttlefish recruitment of returning egg masses to sea.

Layman's description

Short titleENG2755 MMO
Effective start/end date1/05/1829/03/19