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Thread: Days at sea / CFP / Quota talks

  1. #471
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Fraserburgh , Scotland


    North Sea cod quota slash advised

    Poor recruitment is one of the factors behind the weak state of North Sea cod

    With North Sea cod believed to be in poor condition, advice from ICES is to reduce next year’s quota by 70%, with added quota reductions for other demersal species.

    ICES advice for North Sea cod, haddock, saithe, whiting and plaice has been made available, with cod seen as the species most in need of regeneration.

    A year ago ICES advised a 50% reduction in the cod quota, although the figure decided on represented a smaller decrease. A 10,457 tonne quota has been advised for next year, with poor recruitment seen as the primary cause of the cod stock’s weakness.

    According to the Norwegian Marine Research Institute, the initial indicator is that high sea temperatures during the spawning period is a key reason for this low recruitment.

    The saithe stock is above critical levels, but ICES still advises a 15% reduction to 88,093 tonnes, while the haddock stock in a healthy condition – but with higher than expected mortality rates, an 11% cut to 30,228 tonnes is advised. The whiting stock is in a similar condition and a 13% reduction to 22,082 tonnes is advised.

    A plaice quota of 131,439 tonnes has been advised, 8% down on last year’s advice.

    ‘Disappointment is almost inadequate as a term to describe the news that once again the iconic North Sea cod stock is in trouble. After a decade and a half in which the stock has been slowly but steadily increasing, the biomass is again in steep decline,’ commented a spokesman for the UK NFFO.

    ‘As usual, there is a mix of environmental and fisheries effects at work. ICES points to low recruitment but also suggests that unidentified changes in fishing patterns are implicated. The suspicion must be that the destabilising effect of the EU landing obligation is one of the factors at work. North Sea cod was brought under the landing obligation in 2018. Climate change and some kind of environmental regime shift is identified as a possible factor behind poor recruitment.’


    The NFFO points out that cod in the North Sea is not a targeted species but is caught as a valuable by-catch along with other species in a mixed demersal fishery – which makes managing a reduction in fishing pressure on cod a difficult and challenging prospect, particularly in the context of the landing obligation and the potential for cod to choke other demersal fisheries.

    ‘As vessels are no longer permitted to discard, chokes occur when the exhaustion of quota for one species precludes the vessel, group, or member state, from catching the quotas of its main economic species. The concern now is that cod quota will be out of alignment with the TACs for haddock, whiting, saithe, and plaice, increasing the risk of chokes dramatically in 2020. Because of its body size and shape, cod is not an easy species to separate out without losing other valuable species in the catch. So more selective fishing gear is hard to achieve for both technical and economic reasons.’

    The point is also made that in the past, drastic management measures have generated pressures leading to fleet displacements into adjacent areas, or into changing target species, or gear types. All such displacement effects have potential knock-on effects.

    ‘In navigating their way through to a solution, fisheries managers and the fishing industry will have to take account of adverse scientific advice, the consequences of the EU landing obligation, cod as a by-catch in several fisheries, self-inflicted legal constraints – such as the EU MSY timetable and constraints on the use of fishing mortality ranges to set TACS – the economic viability of fishing businesses and communities, and the volatile political and jurisdictional context,’ the NFFO’s spokesman commented.

    ‘Above all, experience suggests that fisheries managers working with the fishing industry, will have to try to understand and anticipate the impact of proposed solutions in the real world.’

  2. #472
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Fraserburgh , Scotland


    SFF calls for governments to appoint fisheries ministers

    Scottish and UK governments need dedicated fisheries minister, say Scottish industry leaders

    Scottish fishermen’s leaders have called for both the UK and Scottish governments to appoint dedicated fisheries ministers to their cabinets.

    ‘In these uncertain times, it is vitally important that the interests of Scottish fishing communities receive full and focused attention,’ said SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong as Prime Minister Theresa May visited Scotland and the two candidates for Conservative Party leader prepared for their hustings.

    ‘As we move to the next phase on Brexit, we are urging both governments to appoint individuals with knowledge and experience of the industry to dedicated cabinet-level ministerial posts.’

    He commented that a fisheries agreement will need to be reached.

    ‘Trade talks will obviously be highly important in shaping the future of the sector. Ministers in Whitehall and Edinburgh who can give all their time to these vital discussions will be of enormous benefit in helping to secure the best post-Brexit arrangements possible,’ Bertie Armstrong said.

  3. #473
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Fraserburgh , Scotland


    EU fisheries management running into difficulties

    North Sea and Baltic cod are again in sharp decline

    The European Commission has launched its annual consultation on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting fish quotas for next year marked by the objective to fish all stocks at MSY levels by 2020 – and the good news is that most of the stocks in the North-East Atlantic have already reached this target.

    European fishing industry body EuropÍche has expressed once again its concern that the stated aim to have all stocks at biomass levels at MSY will prove to be counterproductive, since the production capacity of sea areas is simply not sufficient to achieve this objective.

    EuropÍche points out that despite fishing effort reductions, some fish populations are struggling to rebuild or even to remain at current level. The answer may be found in the latest scientific advices which revealed major challenges in some fisheries caused by the destabilising effect of the full introduction of the landing obligation and environmental factors such as climate change.

    EuropÍche stresses that enormously rapid achievements have been realised in NE Atlantic waters. In 2019, 59 out of 76 TACs have been set according to MSY levels compared to only five in 2009. In addition, the size of the region’s fish stocks has increased by more than 36% on average over the last 10 years.
    According to EuropÍche, this huge improvement has only been made possible by a heavy reduction in fishing effort by shrinking the EU fleet by more than 22,000 fishing vessels.

    ‘Still, it must be acknowledged, effort reductions do not always translate into larger quotas,’ EuropÍche managing director Daniel Voces said, citing as a clear example cod stocks in the southern part of the North Sea and the Eastern Baltic where, despite continuous effort reductions and after years of slow but steady recovery, the stock biomass is again in sharp decline.

    Gains that have already been achieved have been at the expense of a drastic reduction in fishing effort

    Poor recruitment

    ‘Scientists point to a mix of environmental and fisheries factors such as poor recruitment of young cod, climate change, and alterations in fishing patterns due to the destabilising effect of the EU landing obligation,’ he said.

    ‘Scientific data prove that the introduction of the EU landing obligation has been and still is more complex than politicians have foreseen and has led to unintended, harmful consequences in fisheries management, undoing the achievements and sacrifices made over the past years by fishermen. It confirms that from the perspective of fisheries management there was no need to introduce the landing obligation in the EU. The landing obligation is changing fishing patterns with potentially (and mostly still unknown) destabilising knock-on effects. The advised steep TAC reduction for cod will certainly lead to choke situations in many fisheries, preventing fishermen to fully utilise their quota with significant economic losses as a consequence.’

    MSY – at what cost?

    EuropÍche notes that even though the number of stocks fished at MSY levels has increased over time, statistical data indicates that the total production of seafood in the EU has not changed over the last 15 years.

    ‘The CFP dictates the need to achieve MSY levels for all fish stocks by 2020, but at what cost? Science clearly indicates that having all stocks at MSY levels is an unrealistic expectation that could only be achieved through significantly reduced yields. The EU cannot afford to offer less supply of fish to its home market resulting in an ever increasing self-sufficiency gap for seafood. Already more than 60% of EU seafood consumption is imported from non-EU countries. Fish must be a healthy protein accessible to all EU consumers, not a luxury item,’ he said and commented that the sector has always advocated to fish the main target stocks at MSY levels while monitoring the positive evolution of the by-catch stocks.

    ‘This approach has led to the recovery and responsible fishing of many important fish stocks in the EU. The challenge still remains on how to deal with fisheries management for different ecosystem compositions. Trying to strike the right balance between harvesting predators such as cod and prey such as herring has proven to be difficult and complex.’

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