Good news on North Sea haddock –

Good news on North Sea haddock Published:  05 July, 2011

THE International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has said more haddock can be taken from the North Sea next year, but is recommending a small reduction in the cod catch.

The Council has said it is safe to catch 45,575 tons of haddock in 2012 -an increase of around 15 per cent. The current quota for 2011 is 36,000 tons.

The good news, according to the latest assessment, is that the North Sea haddock stock exhibits sporadically high recruitment leading to dominant year classes in the fishery. These large year classes often grow more slowly than less abundant year class, possibly due to density dependent effects. The other interesting development is that haddock growth may be linked to the water temperature as it is thought warmer waters may lead to faster growth in the early life stages and faster maturity. The recommendation on North Sea haddock is likely to benefit both the Norwegian fleet and parts of the Scottish white fish fleet, but much depends on the quota recommendations which are decided at the end of the year. But the news certainly bears out what many people have been saying for a long time – and that is the haddock stock in the North Sea is in reasonably good shape.

Meanwhile, ICES has recommended a North Sea cod catch next year of 31,800 tons which is only marginally down on the 2011 figure of 32,240 tons. But there is not such good news on saithe (coley). The quota recommendation for next year is 87,544 tons compared with 103,000 tones this year.