Haddock quota increase now top priority Fishing Monthly Published: 08 October, 2003
RESTORATION of the cut in the North Sea haddock quota is now a top priority, an industry leader said tonight.
Alex Smith, President of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said that scientific opinion unveiled in Copenhagen was that while the health of the North Sea cod stock was about the same, there was the biggest haddock biomass in the North Sea for about 30 years.
He said:”The indications are that the cod is really little changed in health terms, but no worse.
“But haddock is good and the North Sea stock has the biggest biomass for about three decades because of the 1999 year class.”
The monkfish assessment was, as he thought, very poor,with very little science in it and based on landings which was totally unreliable.
Meanwhile it looked as if North Sea plaice was in line for a hefty cut which was bad news for the Dutch.
Mr Smith, who had been attending a joint meeting of the North Sea Commission Fisheries Partnership and ICES scientists added: “We cannot see how there could be any cut for haddock in the North Sea for next year and I would be cautiously optimistic about the fishery’s prospects.The biomass is real and very strong.”
Now the federation’s main thrust would be to decouple haddock from cod.
“I am sure we have enough evidence to achieve this,” Mr Smith added.
For it was imperative to win an increase in the haddock catch.
Two independent scientists, one from New Zealand and one from Canada participated at the Copenhagen session.