Urgent need for juvenile cod protection plan – Fishupdate.com

Urgent need for juvenile cod protection plan Published:  11 July, 2007

George Macrae

THE protection of juvenile cod is an issue which has to be settled as a matter of urgency, a fishermen’s spokesman underlined today.

George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, told FISHupdate that in the ongoing debate over cod recovery, everyone seemed to forget that the scientific evidence was of more abundance of mature cod in the sea and particularly in the North Sea .

But the spawning stock biomass was not recovering as fast as was hoped and while it was clear there was justification for an increase in the North Sea total allowable catch, it was also clear that a package of measures was needed to protect juvenile cod of 35cm or less.

“A key objective is how to get measures to best protect the TAC and it may well be that a package involving a workable system of real time closures can be achieved, provided any system is consistent with both the need to protect juvenile cod and equally, is protective of the economic interests of the fishing industry.”

The abundance of cod meant that fishermen were leaving port not sure of where they would be able to fish because of the need to protect cod.

“What the science is saying is that there is every justification for an increase in the TAC, but it is not just a question of input into catching, it is an issue of how best to get measures to protect the TAC.”

In the meantime the cod recovery issue was being used almost as an excuse for restricting effort on other stocks.

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