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New Report Highlights Cod Losses

Cod Sustainability Economics +3 more

EUROPE, UK - The UK has discarded one billion pounds worth of cod from one stock in last 50 years. This is a key message of a new research report by the independent think tank, the new economics foundation (nef).

The discarding of cod in the North Sea, Eastern Channel and Skagerrak is costing the UK economy, environment and society in wasted resources.

Fish are discarded because they are unwanted, not profitable enough or do not conform to fishing regulations. The report, Money Overboard: Why discarding fish is a waste of jobs and money, shows that there are benefits to be made from landing fish which would have otherwise been thrown away, but that much bigger benefits would come if fish were given more time to grow by fishing more selectively.

The report also pointed out that the UK has, from just one cod stock, thrown away enough fish to support 711 jobs for 46 years. The results show how more selective fishing could halt this waste and result in more fish, revenues and jobs for all.

Since 1963 nef reported that 2.7 billion worth of cod was discarded in North Sea, English Channel and Skagerrak.

Of these 2.7 billion, the UK threw away nearly one billion (935 million) missing out on 711 additional UK jobs.

If discards had not occurred during this period, and had been left in the sea, the cod population would have been an average 13.2 per cent larger year-on-year, leading to an increase in profits and jobs supported by this stock and, could have been worth 7.5 billion (2.6 billion to the UK), compared to being thrown away for nothing

Everyone can see that discards are hugely wasteful, but far more wastage comes from overfishing: taking more than what the oceans can produce. Action to end discards must be accompanied with action to restore fish stocks, said Rupert Crilly, environmental economics researcher at nef and author of the report.

Avoiding discards in the first place is more important than the creation of markets for unwanted species. Promoting the consumption of unwanted species is a risky gamble which could lead to more demand for fish and put more pressure on our fish stocks. Eating more fish will do little to end overfishing.