Committee's cod report will be crucial – Fishupdate.com

Committee’s cod report will be crucial Published:  12 November, 2007

Barrie Deas

A REPORT on North Sea cod being prepared by the European Commission’s Scientific and Technical Committee on Fisheries will play a critical role in the next round of the EU-Norway fish talks, a leading industry figure said today.

Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said that the main issues at the first round of the Norway talks surrounded cod, whiting, plaice and herring.

He said that on cod, there was recognition that cod health had improved and a number of member states, perhaps led by the UK, were arguing for a 15% increase in the total allowable catch (TAC) figure for next year.

However, the Norwegians, against the background of ICES advice, were suggesting there should be a small reduction.

“The European Commission is holding its position until the scientific and technical committee have reported and say that by the time we get to the second round, the report will be available. This report will therefore be critical.”

The second round is due to take place from November 21 and Mr Deas said there was a feeling in the UK and elsewhere, that with clear signs of cod recovery, policy should move forward from the blunt instruments of cutting both the TAC and effort and he felt Scottish initiatives like real time closure and observer programmes should be picked up by the Commission and adopted as an alternative to cuts.

There were also real concerns over whiting, plaice and herring prospects but he felt there was scope for movement in all the key species areas.

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