Figures suggest UK cod quota increase

North Sea Cod is recovering well according to the ICES North Sea Cod is recovering well according to the ICES

The latest International Council of the Sea (ICES) report reveals that North Sea Cod stocks are on the increase for the sixth year in a row.

Although this suggests that UK measures to reverse the decline is having a positive effect, the figures mean mixed news for the fishing industry, according to Seafish chief economist, Hazel Curtis. She said: “North Sea cod is now classed as being harvested sustainably according to the precautionary approach. The size of the stock has more than doubled in the last six years.”

She added: “In the short term, fishing opportunities in the North Sea cod recovery zone could still reduce further, even if quotas increase again the permitted days at sea may not. This means that many businesses could continue to find it challenging to operate profitably.”

According to the figures, upper confidence limits of estimated cod stock size (81,000 tonnes) have now passed the minimum desired level (Blim) of 70,000 tonnes for the first time since 1998, although the estimated level of 65,000 tonnes at the start of 2012 is still just below that figure.

The figures indicate that innovation in management practice, catch handling and reduction in discards made by the UK fleet, often on a voluntary basis, are beginning to have the desired effect on cod stocks.

Ms Curtis concluded that the industry can be more confident that a further increase will be achieved and that sustainable cod quotas could become larger in the medium and longer term.

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