ICES, WWF Again Decry European Cod Quota


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
June 26, 2008

Scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) today said that cod stocks continue to be overfished in almost all European waters and recommended again that the cod fisheries be shut down.

The World Wildlife Fund also today criticized the European Court for refusing to allow it to challenge the legality of Council of the European Union’s cod quota.

"It's incredibly frustrating that whilst we are arguing over access to the court, cod stocks are still under pressure," says Carol Hatton, solicitor of WWF-UK. "We believe it is important to appeal this judgment to establish that NGOs can access the court to ensure that in the future fishing quotas take heed of scientific advice and are not set at a level that has serious consequences for the marine environment."

ICES scientists today said that discarding of North Sea cod increased to 40 percent in 2007 and is expected to remain high in 2008.

"Last year the EU has missed a real opportunity to do the right thing by increasing the North Sea Cod quotas while the stock was still under a recovery plan," says Carol Phua, WWF’s senior fisheries policy officer. "The science is clear, give cod a break now, and protect the juveniles, or there will be no future for cod. Ignoring this advice again and setting wildly inappropriate fishing quotas without mandatory measures to reduce the bycatch of juveniles will continue one of the greatest European environmental injustices."

The final decision on the cod quota is expected at the EU Fisheries Council in December, based on a proposal from the European Commission.

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