A Blue Marine petition to Bring Back British Cod, asking the UK government for further restrictions, is particularly pointless says the NFFO
The Blue Marine Foundation has called on the public to sign a petition they will present to the UK government, which they hope will “better manage” cod stocks called Bring Back British Cod.
Not happy with the way the UK government is handling cod fishing, the Blue Marine Foundation has taken it upon themselves to pressurise elected representatives in further restrictions on cod fishing.
Blue Marine says:
“The UK Government keeps ignoring the science and allowing fishing of already overfished cod populations around the UK. Now, three out of our five UK cod stocks are at risk of collapsing. The West of Scotland cod population has already declined by 92% since 1981 and cod off the south coast of Ireland is down by 89% since 1968.
“Blue Marine is launching a campaign to call on the UK Government to address the decline of Atlantic cod in British waters.
“We are asking the British public to sign a petition urging the Government to better manage near-collapsed cod populations around the British Isles and set sustainable catch limits which will allow stocks to recover.”
Cod stocks in the North Sea have been on the decline but fishermen have only seen a decline in the southern area, whereas cod stocks in the northern area of the North Sea have remained steady.
Cod stocks off the west coast of Scotland and the south coast of Ireland has declined also declined but fishermen and scientists believe the decline of the cod stock has more to do with global warming rather than overfishing. Global warming is driving cod stocks further into the northern hemisphere in search of colder waters, with more tropical species such as anchovy and Atlantic Bluefin tuna becoming more common as the shift in balance continues.
Cod stocks in colder northern waters remain unaffected by global warming but it is inevitable that at some point they will also become victim to the warming atmosphere.
Cod, as a bycatch has become a choke species to fishing vessels in mixed fisheries who hit their total allowable catch (TAC), meaning that they are unable to catch the rest of their quota for other species they are allowed to fish. Any further restrictions on cod would send boats out of business. If the UK government would listen to such a call it would be serious for the UK whitefish fleet.
Barrie Deas from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation (NFFO) deemed the petition unnecessary. He told The Fishing Daily:
“My understanding is that the scientific view is that the distribution of cod in UK waters is moving northwards by 12km per year, probably as a result of warming sea water temperatures. Cod is at the limit of its geographical extent in UK waters.
“Against this background, this campaign seems particularly pointless.
“TAC decisions have closely followed ICES advice, although tempered by the need to factor in that cod in UK waters is caught in mixed fisheries. Most of the cod consumed in the UK has always come from the large northern cod stocks at Iceland and the Barents Sea. These stocks have generally been doing well in recent years so there should be no implications for consumers.”