Scientists recommend large cuts in Baltic cod quotas

Scientists propose large cuts in fishing quotas for both cod stocks in the Baltic Sea, because the condition of the cod is deteriorating.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on 30 May released the scientific advice for 2015 for the Baltic Sea and deep-sea fish stocks. ICES proposed to reduce commercial cod catches in the Baltic sea by more than 50 %, both for the western and eastern cod stocks. Scientists reported that the stock of Eastern Baltic cod is in very poor condition, with a population that consists mainly of unusually small, slow growing individuals.

After being close to collapse in 2002, the Eastern Baltic cod stock showed signs of a strong recovery for several years. This year’s advice shows that the recovery may not be going so well after all; recent findings indicate that the eastern cod population is now in such a bad state that it is classified as data-limited. The cod is skinny and in poor condition because of deteriorating environment and a lack of food.

More details about the advice for all fish stocks can be found through the links below. ICES also released advice for salmon, herring, sprat and other species.

The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will be put to a test later this year when fisheries ministers decide the quotas for 2015. Will the ministers follow the scientific advice for maximum sustainable yield (MSY), as required by the new CFP? Or will they continue their tradition of disregarding science?

Based on the scientific advice by ICES, the Commission will soon propose fishing opportunities which are to be confirmed by the Council before the end of the year.

Read more:
Fisheries Secretariat: Baltic cod in dire straits again (contains a summary of the advice for the Baltic Sea fish stocks)
Fisheries Secretariat briefing on Baltic Sea stock advice for 2015
Oceana: Scientists Recommend Largest Baltic Cod Fisheries Cut in Years

ICES press release
ICES advice for the Western Baltic Cod
ICES advice for the Eastern Baltic Cod

Axel Naver

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