Haddock fishing ban – A report submitted by scientists to European fisheries ministers has called for a total ban on cod fishing in the North Sea. The report also urges that fishermen should limit their catch of haddock to 40 percent of what they are currently lugging in.
The report was written by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices). European fisheries ministers are set to debate on the report when they meet in Brussels later this year to set next year’s quotas. Ices has said that reducing the quota of haddocks from 66,000 tonnes to 39,000 tonnes in 2006 would help in mitigating the disaster.
“Deep-sea fish such as the orange roughy and the roundnose grenadier are long-lived, slow-reproducing fish that can withstand only low levels of fishing pressure. Our evidence indicates that the pressure is much too high,” said David Griffith, the general secretary of Ices. He added that they were specifically concerned about the heavy depletion of deep-sea sharks such as the Portuguese dogfish and the gulper.
However, the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association has rubbished the report and said that there was an abundance of haddock in the area. “Everyone has regarded the haddock stocks as being in good condition. The catch reduction is not due to inadequate stocks of haddock, it is due to a different method of calculation by the scientists,” said George MacRae, the secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association.
The new proposal to limit haddock catches was ‘totally unacceptable,’ the association said. Even Seafish, the Sea Fish Industry Authority in Britain said that consumers should continue to eat fish without thinking much about the report since there was an abundant supply in the North Sea, “The key message for consumers is that they should continue eating fish. North Sea haddock is plentiful and stocks of herring are in abundant supply,” said John Rutherford, the chief executive of Seafish.