Scientists Questioning ICES Advice, Claims Industry Figure –

Scientists Questioning ICES Advice, Claims Industry Figure Fishing Monthly Published:  02 July, 2003

A FISHERMEN’S spokesman maintained today a growing number of “credible” scientists now query and even condemn, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea over reliability of their scientific data on cod, haddock and other species.

George MacRae, secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association,said for example a Dutch scientist, a Dr Boddeka recently voiced doubts on the reliability of computer-based estimates of ICES on levels of cod in the North Sea.

“The scientific advice given to politicians is based largely upon research vessel surveys and over the years fishermen have expressed serious concern at the research vessel voyages that stick to the same route and take no account of the evolving nature of fish stock changes, i.e. the vessels continue to survey where they have also surveyed not necessarily where the fish are located.”

It was clear that various white fish stocks, for example in the North Sea, are not evenly distributed and their distribution has changed over recent years. And a recent survey by European fishermen established that there was a clear north/south divide in the abundance of the white fish stocks. There was also a recognisable offshore/nearshore variation.“ That information is important, but it should also have an important bearing on the routing of research vessel survey trips, with it being quite possible that a research vessel route plotted along a traditional or well-established path could miss the changing distribution of the fish.”