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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / The North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock.

The North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock.

Assessment made on  01 Jan 2002

Generic metadata

Classification

Fisheries Fisheries (Primary theme)

Coasts and seas Coasts and seas

Water Water

DPSIR: State

Identification

Indicator codes
  • FISH 01b
Geographic coverage:
Contents
 

Policy issue:  Sustainable exploitation of fish stocks is a target for the EU-CFP. Landings are regulated through TAC, but this does not directly lead to control of the actual catches

Key messages

  • The spawning stock biomass is at a new historic low in 2001, and the risk of stock collapse is high (ICES 2001). During February and April 2001, a large part of the North Sea was closed for cod fishing for 10 weeks to protect juvenile cod, as part of an emergency recovery plan. Currently the TAC has been set at approximately 50 % of the TAC of 2000 and technical measures are in place. The EC has proposed additional effort regulations in the structural recovery plan proposal for cod and hake, but the decision process will take at least half a year.

  • The North Sea cod stock is outside safe biological limits. This situation is also true in all waters adjacent to the North Sea, where this species is distributed. The spawning stock biomass (SSB) is calculated to have been below Bpa (Biomass precautionary approach reference point) for the last 17 years (since 1984).

  • The status of the North Sea cod stock indicates that a sustainable EU CFP is still far from the target of sustainable fish-resource management.

Figures

Key assessment

The status of a fish stock in itself is valid as an indicator only as long as parameters describing the stock are collected regularly. By being one of the key fish stocks of the north-east Atlantic, and by being of interest to a number of member- and non Member States, the status of the North Sea cod stock is justified as an indicator of sustainability in multilateral fish resource exploitation and management.

Sustainable exploitation of fish stocks is a target for the EU-CFP. Landings are regulated through TAC, but this does not directly lead to control of the actual catches. The principle of regulating landings is, eventually, hoped also to regulate fishing mortality. It has been claimed that management by TAC�s alone is hardly possible, and that regulation of effort has to be considered in addition to, or preferably, in replacement of, TAC regulations. The present status of the North Sea cod stock seems clearly to support this statement. The TACs are based on advice from relevant ICES working groups issuing annual assessment reports based on catch statistics, surveys and calculations of a number of central parameters for each stock.

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