Danish fishing calls for scientific advice to be improved after ICES publishes its recommendations on fishing opportunities for 2022
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has presented its recommendations for fishing in the North Sea, Kattegat and Skagerrak for 2022.
The Danish Fisheries Association see it as a mixed land trade, where there are both elements to enjoy and elements that give deep frowns in Danish fishing.
Overall, the Danish Fisheries Association has no doubt that this year’s scientific advice for the North Sea, Kattegat and Skagerrak most of all testifies to the need to strengthen the scientific advice to ensure sustainable exploitation of fish stocks. A job the Danish Fisheries Association has long called for.
“In the Danish Fisheries Association, we experience that there is far too much difference between the reality the biologists who prepare the scientific advice look at, and what the Danish fishermen experience. This is a major problem that we would very much like to have solved. Therefore, we hope that we can address this issue as soon as possible and see if we can do it better. This will be to the benefit of the Danish fishermen and the fish stocks,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
The scientific advice goes the right way for stocks such as haddock, whiting and sole in the Kattegat, and for quotas such as turbot and brill, the advice is fairly stable. At the same time, the fishing industry welcomes the ICES proposal to reduce the quota for Norway lobster in the Kattegat and Skagerrak, which has also been a wish of the fishing industry, which is concerned with ensuring a good balance between exploitation and protection of the Norway lobster stock.
It looks bleakly different for ICES ‘recommendations for setting the quota for saithe and cod. Despite the fact that fishermen experience more cod and saithe at their fishing grounds, a reduction of 10% for the cod quota and 24% for the saithe quota is recommended. This is very serious for Danish fisheries, as these are important stocks that can also end up as so-called stop species, where fishermen may have to stop fishing if the quota runs out. And it is a toxic situation when the fishermen – contrary to the scientific advice – experience that there are actually more of the two species in the fishing grounds.
“It is devastating for the fishery when the reality that the fishermen experience does not harmonize with the biologists’ spreadsheets. It shows how bad the fisheries management in the EU is. For years, we have called for closer cooperation between researchers and fishermen so that we can improve the quality of advice and become even better at finding the right balance between exploitation and protection of stocks. This is another example of the urgent need to move on that agenda,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
Earlier this year, the Danish Fishermen’s Association presented the proposal “The Danes’ Fishermen – the course towards a common future”, where one of the proposals is to improve biological advice through increased use of real-time data. By using real-time data, one can draw an accurate picture of how a stock is doing at any given time, thereby ensuring that biologists and fishermen relate to the same reality. In addition to that proposal, the Danish Fisheries Association has initiated a collaboration with sister organizations from the United Kingdom and Norway to improve the basis for ICES ‘advice, just as the fishing industry also collaborates with DTU Aqua to improve the basis for ICES’ advice.