Seafish: MCS is wrong on North Sea cod


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
November 14, 2013

A U.K. government fishery group is speaking out against a recent recommendation by an environmental group to avoid eating North Sea cod.

Seafish, a fishing industry group sponsored by government fisheries departments, is challenging a recent decision by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) to place North Sea cod on its "Fish to Avoid" list, urging consumers not to eat it.

The MCS is known for placing fish from endangered stocks on the list as a way to drive sustainable fishing practices, but Tom Pickerell, Seafish's technical director, said in a statement that North Sea cod fisheries are well-managed and fall within guidelines to encourage stock growth.

"The facts are that North Sea cod stocks have been steadily recovering for a number of years now," Pickerell said. "Fishing pressure on the stock has been decreasing since the late 1990s and is now considered by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea to be at an appropriate level."

Pickerell said he supported the MCS, but called for consumers to question its advice on North Sea cod.

"In essence, the MCS's advice for consumers to commercially 'turn their back' on this species is misguided, particularly at a time when the outlook of its future as a fishery is encouraging and positive," he said.

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