THERE was good news for UK fish processors with the announcement that the Icelandic Marine Research Institute is recommending a substantially increased cod quota of 196,000 tons for the new fishing year which starts in September.

This represents a rise of 19,000 tons - or some 11 per cent - on the current year. Although not quite the 200,000 ton figure that had been predicted, the new catch total will be widely welcomed both in the UK and Europe where cod prices have been under pressure.

It is also reflects the continuing healthy state of the Iceland cod stock and also underpins the country's long standing fish conservation policy. The Marine Research Institute recommendation still has to be endorsed by the Reykjavik government but it would be a major surprise if it did not rubber stamp that figure - or something very close to it.

The even better news is that the Institute is suggesting that the cod quota could reach 250,000 tons by 2016 - just four years away - such is the continues optimism about the future of the stock.
So far there is no news about haddock, but the condition of that fishery is still giving rise for concern, at least in the short to medium term and a lower quota is expected.

The Institute has also announced good news for the country's pelagic fishing companies by recommended that the summer herring spawning quota should rise from 40,000 tons to 67,000 tons in the next fishing season.

The reason is that an infection in the herring which was affecting catches is now on the wane. Other recommendation include a 8,000 ton increase to 20,000 tons for Greenland halibut, but lower catch rates for catfish.