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Sunday, November 03, 2002

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) co-ordinates and promotes marine research in the North Atlantic. It has recently recommended the complete closure of all fisheries that target cod in the North Sea, Skagerrak, Irish Sea and waters west of Scotland. The ICES advise this because their studies suggest this is the only way of giving these depleted stocks a period of time to recover, and, hopefully, to return to their former productive state. Cod are also caught as a by-catch in mixed fisheries, such as haddock, whiting, flatfish, shrimp and prawn (Nephrops) fisheries. ICES is recommending that these fisheries should also be closed unless they can demonstrate that they are not causing a cod by-catch... How the European Commission and national governments use this advice will obviously have serious implications for both the fish species and fishermen concerned.