Trawling ban in Öresund the reason for healthy fish stocks, EP study concludes

The European Parliament published a briefing note comparing the long term effects of various fishing methods on demersal fisheries in Kattegat and Öresund, between Sweden and Denmark. The full title of the briefing note is “Long-term impact of different fishing methods on the ecosystem in the Kattegat and Öresund”.

The report concludes that due to the ban on towed fishing gear in place since 1932, the Öresund is now 100 times more productive for demersal fish stocks than the adjacent Kattegat, which has had no such regulations. The age distribution is strikingly different between Öresund and the Kattegat for demersal fish stocks. The study suggests that the gillnet fisheries in the Öresund has been much more selective than the trawl fisheries in the Kattegat, thus saving the larger individuals.

KEY FINDINGS

  • It is natural to believe that the much better performance of the cod stock in the Öresund in particular is related to the absence of trawling.
  • It is unlikely that the difference is caused by more severe environmental problems in the Kattegat, as the Öresund is enclosed by the most densely human-populated and cultivated area in Scandinavia.
  • A prerequisite for these effects of the differences in technical regulations is the existence of separate, rather stationary fish stocks in the two areas.
  • It is suggested that fisheries management of the Kattegat has been a fiasco, and the better management of the Öresund is just incidental.
  • The findings presented in this briefing paper call for much more restrictive management actions.
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