Poland launches Baltic cod count after EU fishing spat – Fishupdate.com

Poland launches Baltic cod count after EU fishing spat Published:  07 January, 2008

Image courtesy of NSEC

POLAND has launched a study aimed at estimating cod populations in the Baltic Sea after the EU newcomer disputed an EU cod fishing ban imposed on Polish fishermen last year.

“This is a reaction to the opinion of fishermen who contend that existing statistics under-estimate the real population of cod in the Baltic,” Tomasz Linkowski, director of the Polish Fisheries Institute (MIR) in Gdynia, told AFP.

According to media reports, MIR observers will travel on board four Polish fishing boats operating on the Baltic year-round to carry out detailed surveys of their catches, including fish which must be returned to the sea.

Warsaw contested the European Commission’s decision in July to close down cod fishing for the year after Brussels ruled Polish fishermen had exhausted their annual quota.

Many Polish fishermen defied the ban, while former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his then government, losers in a general election in October, accused Brussels of overstating the fishing stocks problem.

A compromise was reached on October 23 when Poland agreed to respect the fisheries closure in return for smaller than planned Baltic cod quota cuts.

The cod catch quota in the eastern Baltic, the main Polish fishing zone, will only be reduced by five percent in 2008 whereas the Commission had sought a 22.65 per cent reduction in order to allow the threatened stocks to replenish.

In the western Baltic, where Germany and Denmark are the main operators, the quota cut will be much more pronounced at 28 per cent, compared with the 32.84 per cent Brussels had called for.

Poland has a fleet of 430 trawlers fishing for cod in the Baltic, employing 5,000 people on board vessels and in the onshore processing industry.

www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.