NFFO says measures have failed to rebuild cod stocks –

NFFO says measures have failed to rebuild cod stocks Published:  06 December, 2010

The European Commission and the Council of Ministers have come under fire over the apparent failure of cod recovery measures applied to the Irish Sea demersal fisheries since 1999.

The NFFO says the measures have failed to make any headway whatsoever in rebuilding the cod stocks which raises fundamental questions about the way it has been approached.

The Federation now argues that the latest proposal to close the cod fishery in 2012 (presumably meaning a zero TAC)  to cut  next years’s  ‘already miniscule quota and days-at-sea allocation’ by 50 per cent speaks of a desperation born from that failure.

It says there are a number of key dimensions to the Irish Sea fisheries which include the fact that the Irish Sea was the only place that successfully developed a semi-pelagic cod fishery suggests that cod inhabit a different place in the water column than elsewhere. This alone should suggest that measures developed for the North Sea might not work in the Irish Sea because cod exhibit different behaviours there. It also says cod recovery measures have been applied in the Irish Sea for longer than anywhere else in EU waters, apparently to least effect, pointing out that the Irish Sea is a relatively small enclosed area of which there is a poor understanding in some quarters. Fishing in the Irish Sea has now been largely corralled into neprops and it was not healthy to rely on one species.

The NFFO list a number of aims which include obtaining a sound understanding of the human dimensions of the demersal fisheryand identifying principal sources of the morality of cod, along with adopting appropriate management responses.

The NFFO has also called for design customised management measures that would optimise the prospects for a recovery of the cod stocks in the Irish Sea over time, whilst maintaining and developing the economically important non-cod demersal fisheries such as nephrops and involving the Irish Sea fishing organisations and individual vessel operators in the design and implementation of recovery measure