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COM (2001) 135 final

The Green Paper on the future Common Fisheries Policy.COM (2001) 135 final

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Status of marine fish stocks Status of marine fish stocks The indicator tracks the ratio of the number of over-fished stocks to the total number of commercial stocks per fishing area in European seas. Fish species rarely reproduce randomly with con-species throughout their geographical range, but form a series of stocks that are reproductively isolated in space and time. Cod for instance form a stock in the North Sea and another one in the Iceland area. These are isolated from each other and one can potentially be fished out while the other is thriving. European eel is an example of an extreme situation where there is only one stock as all mature eel migrate to the Sargasso Sea to spawn in random mixture with each other.  It should be noted that in the Northeast Atlantic area stocks are generally defined based on biological criteria and knowledge of population migration, mixing and spawning areas, while in the Mediterranean due to lack of biological knowledge, stocks are defined largely by area and not in general on the basis of well established biological knowledge on population units.   Commercial stocks are the stocks of economic importance on which the fishing effort is focused upon in each area aiming at a profit, i.e. a subset of exploited stocks. It is a broader term encompassing target species, by-catches and industrial species that are of economic importance to the market. Overfished stocks are stocks outside safe biological limits Safe stocks are stocks inside safe biological limits Non-assessed stocks are stocks for which no assessment has been carried out. The indicator also contains information on: 1. Numbers of commercial, assessed and over-fished stocks by sea area; 2. The state of commercial stocks (over-fished stocks per area), safe stocks, stocks for which an assessment has not been carried out. 3. Fish catch in specific seas from assessed and unassessed stocks. 4. Status of stocks by species and seas.

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