Aquaculture for all

Cod Quota Must Be Increased

Cod Environment Politics +3 more

UK - The Cornish Fish Producers Organisation (CFPO) has announced that it will be urging the EU to raise the catch quota for cod, making it an early opportunity for Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, and the EU commission to demonstrate their commitment to reducing discards.

For the last few years fishermen around Cornwall have been seeing a significant increase in cod on the ground and in their catches but until now this has not been reflected in the annual quotas set by Europe.

The CFPO has been working to resolve this issue and following a series of trans-national meetings with French and Irish fishermens organisations and the recent publication of this years scientific advice from ICES (the independent international scientific body that advises the EU Commission on fish stocks and quota levels) the CFPO is hopeful of an increase this years Cod quota in the South West.

Scientists failed to pick-up the strong recruitment of fish coming into the fishery in last years assessment but have now recognised the strength of this stock. Furthermore they have said that with out immediate action discards will increase.

Paul Trebilcock, Chief Executive of the CFPO, said: The recent publication of ICES advice revising estimates of cod in the Celtic Sea has highlighted a major anomaly for management in 2011 which requires urgent attention. We and others around Europe feel that the EU Commission and the Council of Ministers need to address this issue as a matter of extreme urgency."

The ICES advice published in June 2011 is explicit: Because of the large 2009 year class is now entering the fishery, which was not anticipated in last years advice or TAC, there will be a large inconsistency between the TAC set for 2011 (4023 t) and the predicted landings for that year, assuming the current fishing mortality (10,500 t)."

"Therefore, in the absence of any effort limitation and/or TAC revision, high discarding will occur.

In terms of the immediate action required the scientific advice is clear; if there is not an in-year increase in the TAC there will be a significant, increase in unnecessary and widespread discarding.

The scientific evidence fully supports industry perceptions that the fishing fleets of all Member States involved in fisheries that operate in VIIe-k have observed high levels of cod in their catches during 2009, 2010 and the early part of 2011.

This steady improvement in the stock has been observed since 2006 following the implementation of the industry led annual Trevose Closure since 2004.

Given that Commissioner Damanaki has made much of her desire to reduce discards in European fisheries, this represents an opportunity to demonstrate her commitment by taking immediate and urgent action to amend the 2011 TAC based on the latest ICES advice.

It is essential that the Commission and Council of Ministers show the resolve to deal with the in-year adjustment required in the exceptional circumstances which the recent ICES advice gives rise to. This would secure the confidence of the fishing sector that sacrifices made can actually produce positive benefits in economic, discard-reduction and overall conservation terms which must be objectives shared by all.

This issue is now being pursed through the North Western Waters Regional Advisory Council and it is hoped an in-year increase in the cod quota can be secured as soon as possible.

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