Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on January 10, 2010
According to Jessica Aldred with the Guardian Unlimited, Cod levels in the North Sea are on the rise, yet restrictions need to be in place in order for the continuation of their growth. For the first time in six years, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has not placed a ban on North Sea fishing.
Martin Pastoors, chairman for the advisory committee on fishery management (ACFM), has reviewed ICES’s findings and feels that although the number of young fish has increased, it is still only half of the long term average. The key to growth lies in the hands… er, fins… of the young fish. ICES has asked governments to place a limit on the number of catches to 50% of the 2006 catches in areas where cod are still threatened. They have also asked that in the area of Kattegat, the Irish Sea and waters west of Scotland that the catches be limited to zero because of the exceptionally low levels of cod present there.
ICES feels that limiting discards and illegal catches would allow for the young fish to grow and reproduce, eventually allowing for a recovery of this essential fish stock. The real problem now is getting the European commission to follow ICES’s recommendations, which has been difficult. In the past, the commission has ignored suggestions and instead set up a “compromise” of a 25% cutback in the cod quota.
Let’s hope that even if they choose the ill-advised “limited cutback”, the cod will continue to grow and reproduce.