Where did all the cod go? Fishing crisis in the North Sea’  The article highlights the increasing importance of the Marine Stewardship Council and Marine Conservation Society on their assessments of sustainability

Oceana: ‘The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has announced today the collapse of the North Sea cod population, and has recommended reducing its catch limits by 70% for 2020. In order to revert its critical situation, Oceana strongly encourages EU decision-makers to follow this advice, which is the result of an updated scientific assessment of the stock. Cod is in a dire situation in EU waters – in April this year, ICES also reported the collapse of Eastern Baltic cod.

Oceana released the following statement in the response to the news: 

“North Sea cod was the flagship of sustainable fisheries. But here we are again at a stage when scientists are calling for a 70% reduction. At a time of public outrage at the state of our natural resources and our oceans, fishing fleets cannot continue to overfish the North Sea. EU ministers must stop this happening, follow scientific advice, and fulfil their legally-binding obligation to fish at sustainable levels by 2020”, said Javier López, Policy and Advocacy Manager at Oceana in Europe.

The Guardian article picks up on this theme

Guardian:  ‘Where did all the cod go? Fishing crisis in the North Sea’ by Harriet Sherwood

With an international council now on the brink of declaring the species unsustainable – and Brexit looming –what is the future for one of the nation’s favourite meals?  By 7.30am all the cod at Peterhead fish market had been sold, snapped up by competing buyers wearing thick fleeces, woolly hats and rubber boots against the chill of the vast indoor warehouse.

A gaggle of middle-aged men clutching books of brightly coloured “tallies” followed the auctioneer alongside crates of glassy-eyed fish nestling in ice. With a curt nod or a swift hand gesture, the price was settled, tallies thrown down to indicate the fish’s new owner, and the group moved on. It took less than 10 minutes to dispose of the night’s catch.

Most of the fish would be heading south, to England or mainland Europe. The Scots are not big cod eaters, preferring haddock with their chips. This dates, apparently, from pre-refrigeration days: haddock is a fish best eaten really fresh, whereas cod is tastiest a couple of days after being caught.

The Peterhead buyers were cagey about naming their customers, but the fish they purchased was destined for supermarkets, fishmongers, restaurants, and a few of the classic takeaway chippies that are a national institution. But all this could now be under threat: a report published last month by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) revealed that North Sea cod stocks had fallen to critical levels. Warning that cod was being harvested unsustainably, it recommended a 63% cut in the catch – and that’s on top of a 47% reduction last year. Click here to read more

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