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Cod recovery zone - North Sea closure

27 Jan 2010

The North Sea (areas IVa, IVb, IVc) will be closed to vessels using towed gear of 100mm and above for the rest of January.

The closure is from 00.01 on 25 January until midnight 31 January and will affect around 60 trawlers administered by the Marine and Fisheries Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government.

The UK is nearing its national effort limit for the TR1 North Sea (Whitefish) Gear.

This measure only affects the North Sea TR1 gear type. All other gears are unaffected by this change. Other gear types may still be used and fishermen may apply to use other gear types during this period.

The decision has been taken because of concerns that the UK is in danger of breaching its 2009–2010 EU effort limit in the Cod Recovery Plan. Not to act would have risked large cuts in whitefish effort for the fleet in 2010/11.

Both the Scottish and Northern Irish ministers have stated publicly that if there is ultimately an overshoot attributable to their vessels they will have to bear the full weight of any penalty this attracts.

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