The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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West of Scotland Cod stocks collapse

The ICES Fishery Science Services (FSS) considers that this stock has collapsed.

Estimates indicate a decline in recruitment in the last decade, correlated with a decline in the spawning stock to the lowest levels observed although the estimate of the 2005 year class is slightly higher.

There has been a mismatch between survey and catch data for this stock for many years; decoupling the data indicates catches to be several times more than those reported. Substantial misreporting of cod landings (species and quantity) has been known to occur.

FSS considers that the most realistic rebuilding scenario requires reducing fishing mortality to zero for three years to begin to rebuild the stock and that further measures will be required to continue to rebuild it.

Given the critical status of the stock FSS advise that only fisheries where industry can prove a zero by-catch of cod should be permitted.

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