The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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Borg summarises stocks

According to Dr Borg  “The most recent advice from ICES confirms that while the situation remains broadly stable, indeed with some encouraging developments in certain fisheries, most stocks remain overfished. We must make further efforts if we are to achieve progress towards sustainable fisheries.

If we do not, the result will be the rapid decline of overfished stocks, and lasting damage to the fleets that depend on them. "

A simple truth - it may have escaped commercial fishermen’s leaders and previous Scottish politicians, what will the current crop make of it ?

He went on " …. we call on the Council to remain faithful to its long-term commitments, and to make decisions which place the long-term health of our fisheries before any short-term economic or political interests.”

Regarding particular stocks :

  • Cod - The improvement in the N. Sea cod stock rests largely on one year class which needs to be protected to contribute to the future of the stock.
  • Northern Hake remains in good condition, with the stock at full reproductive capacity and a sustainable harvest rate.
  • Bay of Biscay sole is being managed in accordance with a long-term management plan; proposed an 8% reduction in the TAC for 2008.
  • North Sea plaice and sole stocks are exposed, cuts of 2.5 and 15% are proposed in line with the EU’s multi-annual management plan.
  • Pelagic fisheries - Poor recruitment continues for the main EU herring stocks. In last week’s negotiations with Norway, the Commission agreed a 41% reduction in the TAC for the North Sea stock. A 32% reduction has been agreed with Norway and the Faroe Islands for Blue Whiting.

In many papers, debates and Committees where biodiversity is the issue, those involved in fisheries management keep stating that they adopt a precautionary approach - but as with Cod, it’s quite the opposite, grab any chance.

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