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Friday, December 20, 2002

After 5 days of talks EU fisheries ministers are thought to have decided to cut fishing quotas for cod, haddock and whiting to 45% of last year's catch + 9 days fishing per month

In October 2002, independent scientists (ICES) recommended the complete closure of the cod fishery and of the "mixed roundfish fisheries which take a large cod component" in order to prevent a collapse of North Sea cod stocks similar to the one experience by Canada 10 years ago.

At the end of the commission's meeting ICES made the following press release:

"We estimate that the spawning stock of cod in the North Sea is now around 38,000 tonnes, which is roughly the same weight as a large car ferry. When you think that this is all there is in the whole of the North Sea this gives an idea as to why we have been so concerned about the state of this stock and also other depleted stocks in the Irish Sea and west of Scotland.

We resorted to recommending complete closure of these fisheries as the only way of giving them an opportunity to recover to their former productive state.

However, we are fully aware of the social and economic impacts of this advice and we understand that compromises are likely to be made in how it is implemented.

Unfortunately, the smaller the reduction in fishing effort, the greater the risk that these stocks will not recover".