The date today is 13-01-11

MSC Annual list 08/09

Scottish haddock and cod along with around 70 other types of seafood should remain in the sea according to recommendations from a The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in its annual list of which fish to eat, and which to avoid.

The full list may be downloaded here but the following is a list of some stocks of particular interest to Scottish buyers.

Brill Brill in the North Sea is overexploited and the fishing method is associated with substantial damage to seabed flora and fauna and discarding of juvenile fish. Avoid eating.

Choose brill from areas other than the North Sea, caught by demersal otter rather than beam trawling. Avoid eating immature brill (less than 40cm) caught by any method as small fish will not have had  a chance to spawn or reproduce.

Cod All North East Atlantic cod stocks are overfished, however stocks in the North Sea, Irish Sea, West of Scotland, eastern Channel, Baltic Sea, Greenland, Skaggerak, Kattegat, Norwegian coast and Faroes
are the most depleted.

Northeast Arctic (Barents and Norwegian Sea), Icelandic Cod and the Celtic Sea are healthier. However, ICES recommends that fishing pressure on Icelandic and Celtic Sea stocks also be reduced.

Spurdog Dogfish (Spurdog/spiny dogfish/rock salmon/flake) are long-lived, slow growing and have a high age at maturity. These characteristics make them particularly vulnerable to high levels of fishing mortality.

The North East Atlantic stock is now considered to be depleted and may be in danger of collapse- Avoid eating.

This species is also assessed as Critically Endangered by IUCN and has been recently added to the OSPAR list of threatened and / or declining species and habitats.

Conger Eel Conger eels have very low resilience to fishing and spawn only once, after which they die.
European eel There is one single European eel stock. This is severely depleted and at a historical minimum that continues to decline and is dangerously
close to collapse.

Eels are exploited in all life stages and those that are fished do not have the chance to breed. Eels spawn only once in their lifetime and it is almost certain they die after spawning.

Haddock from Faroes and West of Scotland Haddock is overfished in this area and ICES recommends that the fishery be closed in 2009. Avoid eating.

Furthermore, haddock is caught in mixed fisheries with cod that are severely depleted in these areas.

Halibut (Atlantic) Atlantic halibut is heavily overfished, which means it is caught in such high numbers that a sustainable fishery cannot be maintained by the current population size.

Assessed by IUCN - World Conservation Union as Endangered. Listed as a species of concern by NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in 2004.

Herring from West of Scotland The state of the herring stock in this area is uncertain but it is likely to be depleted and fishing pressure unsustainable. Avoid eating
fish from depleted stocks.
Ling Ling is found from shallow coastal waters to the deep sea. It is more resilient to fishing than other deepwater species, but when occurring in deep water, it often occupies habitats that are vulnerable to
the impacts of trawling. Other more vulnerable fish species are also taken as bycatch in ling fisheries.
Rays Avoid eating skates and rays unless you are certain they are one of the smaller ray species (spotted, cuckoo, or starry rays) whose populations are considered relatively stable, except for in the Bay of Biscay.

Avoid eating these species below 60cm, the average size at which they mature.

Shark Sharks are vulnerable to exploitation because they are slow-growing, long-lived, and have low reproductive capacity: these factors and
the high commercial value of mature and immature shark (in target and incidental fisheries) makes them highly vulnerable to over-exploitation and population depletion.

Leafscale gulper, Porbeagle, Tope shark are assessed as Vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and are listed on the OSPAR list of threatened and/or declining species and habitats.

Skate The common skate belies its name as it is becoming very rare in UK shallow seas and in European waters. The life history and demography of this species means that it has a very low resilience to fishing pressure, and its large body size means that it is catchable even from birth.

Common Skate is assessed as Critically Endangered by IUCN -World
Conservation Union and is also listed by OSPAR as a threatened and declining species.

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The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network
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