Scientists and WWF united: ban cod fisheries in the North Atlantic | WWF

Scientists and WWF united: ban cod fisheries in the North Atlantic

Posted on 24 October 2006
The majority of European fish stocks are in a parlous state as a result of their mismanagement
© WWF / Quentin BATES
Brussels, Belgium - Urgent action is needed to safeguard fish stocks across Europe according to the latest advice of the scientists of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), released last Friday.

A zero catch is advised for cod in the North Sea, West Scotland and Irish Sea for 2007, while other fisheries recommended for closure are shark, anchovy and sand eel.

WWF calls on the European Commission and EU Fisheries Ministers to accept this advice and reflect it in the quota decision taken at the December Council. It is time for the politicians to follow ICES advice, particularly in relation to cod, heed the lessons from Canada, where the small cod stock left was quickly wiped out as soon as the fisheries was re-opened.

“The majority of European fish stocks are in a parlous state as a result of their mismanagement,” Carol Phua, Fisheries Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office. “It is time the politicians responsible made serious commitments to recovering the fish stocks by heeding the best scientific advice available.”

The ICES figures offer little more hope for European fish stocks than those issued a year ago. WWF expects that the emergency will be well understood: it is now the fifth time over four years that scientists have been advising a closure on cod fisheries and a dramatic reduction of fishing efforts on the other fisheries.

The scientific body is now also calling for a dramatic reduction of plaice and sole catches to maintain the stocks at a sustainable level. With half the plaice catch thrown overboard, strict management and control are needed for what is currently Europe’s most wasteful fisheries.

“ICES advice is coming at the right time and WWF hope that the European Commission will endorse this recommendations in its proposal to the EU Member States for the December Council. Member States and the Commission need to take a long-sighted view for the sustainable management of Europe’s valuable fish stocks".

"The near collapse of some of these is not only a concern for human exploitation but it is also posing a major threat to the European marine eco-systems”, says Carol Phua, Fisheries Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.

For further information
• Caroline Alibert, WWF European Policy Office
Tel +32 (0)2 7400 936
Email: calibert@wwfepo.org  
The majority of European fish stocks are in a parlous state as a result of their mismanagement
© WWF / Quentin BATES Enlarge