The EC may still try to close North Sea to cod fishing, UK fisheries minister warns – Fishupdate.com

The EC may still try to close North Sea to cod fishing, UK fisheries minister warns Published:  24 March, 2005

UK fisheries minister, Ben Bradshaw has warned that the EC may still try to impose blanket fishery closures to protect cod stocks. Speaking at the Government’s marine protected areas workshop in London today Mr Bradshaw said the EC is still sticking to a hard line on the recovery of cod stocks.

The event is being held to evaluate and discuss the establishment of networks of marine protected areas (MPAs)and is being staged against a backdrop of concerns over the level of fish stocks and the impact of fishing on the marine environment.It has also been prompted by several reports identifying marine protected areas as the means to address these concerns.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in their major report

“Turning the Tide” urged the wider use of MPAs for fisheries and

biodiversity conservation. One of the key recommendations of the

report is the introduction of a large scale UK network of areas

closed to fishing comprising 30% of the UK 200 mile zone.

The Review of Marine Nature Conservation and the Prime Minister’s

Strategy Unit’s Net Benefits report on a sustainable future for the

fishing industry also recommended the wider use of MPAs to provide

benefits to multiple users.

In addition, the European Commission may return to proposals it

produced at the end of last year to close large parts of the North

Sea to fishing to further enhance cod recovery.

Mr Bradshaw said:

“Our goal is to ensure that the marine ecosystem remains healthy and

that we manage the human impact to sustain the economic, social and

environmental benefits of the seas and oceans.

“Developing networks of marine protected areas could help us to

achieve this goal. This workshop has an important role to play in

this process by bringing together all those with an interest in

protecting the marine environment. It will also help us to assess the

tools we are using to identify marine protected areas and deliver our

objectives.”

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