ICES has recommended an increase in the catch limits for cod in the North Sea, eastern English Channel and Skagerrak to 26,008 tonnes for 2023

ICES has recommended an increase in the catch limits for cod in the North Sea, eastern English Channel and Skagerrak for 2023

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has today recommended an increase in the catch limits for cod in the North Sea, eastern English Channel and Skagerrak to 26,008 tonnes for 2023.

Originally, ICES recommended in their advice that the quota for 2023 could be increased by 44 percent compared to the current quota for 2022.

However, after further assessments and investigations, ICES is now raising the advice, so that it will be a 63 percent increase in the quota for 2023 compared to the current one for 2022.

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ICES has advised that this replaces the advice given in June. They say:

“This advice is a revision of the June advice according to the reopening protocol (ICES, 2020b). The IBTS-Q3 survey shows a higher recruitment than was previously assumed which triggered the revision of the advice. The catch advice for 2023 is now based on landings data for 1 January–30 June 2022, which were used to predict annual landings and catches (assuming the same discard ratio by age as in 2021) for the intermediate year.  This corresponds to a reduction in fishing mortality in the intermediate year from 0.21 in June advice to 0.179.

Because the SSB (2022) is currently below Blim, ICES has provided the probability of SSB being below Blim in 2024 for each of the scenarios. Given the advised catch of 26 008 tonnes, the probability of SSB being below Blim in 2024 is 7.5%.

Cod in the North Sea is under the EU landing obligation, and Norway and UK national legislation regulating discards. The below minimum size (BMS) landings of cod reported to ICES are currently negligible and are much lower than the discards estimated by observer programmes.

Although F has reduced, recent catches have not been in line with ICES advice. The SSB remains below Blim, with an ongoing high risk of impaired recruitment. 

Recreational catches are estimated to account for 4.3–7.6% of total removals between 2010–2020, but values are provisional and not included in the assessment due to unknown age structure in recreational catches and high uncertainty in the estimates.

The North Sea cod stock consists of reproductively isolated populations of Viking cod and Dogger cod, with the Dogger cod population extending to Division 6a (ICES, 2020a). These genetically different groups have different rates of sexual maturity and growth.”

Whether the quota will ultimately be increased by 63 percent will be decided in December.

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ICES recommends increase to 2023 catch limits for Cod in the North Sea

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