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Atlantic cod. (Photo: Stock File)

ICES recommends fishing less Baltic Sea cod but more herring

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, May 30, 2014, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommends severe cuts in fishing possibilities for cod stocks but increases in all herring quotas in the Baltic Sea for 2015.

This recommendation is based on scientific advice, which has determined that while Baltic Sea cod stocks have deteriorated greatly in recent years, herring is doing much better.

After finding out that the cod is skinny and growth poor due to deteriorating environmental conditions and food availability, which makes a proper assessment of the eastern stock impossible, ICES has classified it as 'data-limited', and the advice is to abandon the long-term management plan for both stocks in the area, which has been in place since 2007 to enable stricter measures.

In the case of salmon, the advice is similar to last year and in Subdivision 32 the total commercial sea catch in 2015 should not be exceeding 11,800 salmon. However, the entity advises that there should be no fishery targeting wild salmon from the Gulf of Finland and there should be improved measures to reduce potential bycatch of wild salmon in other fisheries.

As to sea sea trout populations in the region, ICES advises on the basis of precautionary considerations that exploitation rates in the Gulf of Bothnia (Subdivisions 30 and 31) and the Gulf of Finland (Subdivision 32) should be reduced to safeguard the remaining specimens. The entity considers additional management measures should be considered for these areas to address bycatch of sea trout.

The following is a summary of ICES recommendations for 2015 total catches:

  • Western cod: 53 per cent decrease (< 8,793 tonnes);
  • Eastern cod: 56 per cent decrease (< 29,085 tonnes,);
  • Central Baltic herring: 18 per cent increase (< 193,000 tonnes);
  • Gulf of Riga herring: 32.9 per cent increase (< 34,300 tonnes);
  • Herring in the Bothnian Sea: 22 per cent increase (< 181,000 tonnes);
  • Herring in the Bothnian Bay: 20 per cent increase (< 5,534 tonnes);
  • Western Baltic herring: 7 per cent increase in “wanted catch” (< 44,439 tonnes). In this case the resulting total catch cannot be quantified due to poor data on bycatch and discards;
  • Sprat: 17 per cent decrease (< 222,000 tonnes);
  • Salmon in the Main Basin and the Gulf of Bothnia: < 116,000 salmon, including estimated discards of 11 per cent;
  • Salmon in Gulf of Finland: 11,800 specimens, essentially based on restocking;
  • Plaice: < 2,626 tonnes of “wanted catch” in Subdivisions 21–23 and of < 886 tonnes in Subdivisions 24–32.
     


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