Cod stocks in the North Sea have been severely impacted by global warming and last year, Norway agreed with the European Union to cut the total allowable catch (TAC).
Following negotiation rounds in November and December last year, two bilateral arrangements and a neighboring arrangement were signed. The bilateral arrangements cover the North Sea and the Atlantic, and Skagerrak and Kattegat, whilst the neighboring arrangement covers the Swedish fishery in Norwegian waters of the North Sea.
For the North Sea cod stock, the EU had backed a strict application of the MSY approach for 2020, which would have resulted in a 61 percent TAC decrease. However, the final TAC was set at 17,679 MT, half that of 2019, representing a less ambitious decrease than the E.U. had hoped for.
But the two parties have agreed to implement a range of additional measures to protect adult and juvenile cod during the year, including area closures. The E.U. will also implement a specific control and inspection program to further reduce catches of juveniles.
Pelagisk Forening says it does not want it’s members to be catching fry or fish under minimum size and the Pelagic Association has proposed the following to the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries.
“The Pelagisk Association believes that attempts should be made to avoid the negative effects of cod fishing on other fisheries, where there is no major problem with cod mixing.
“The Pelagisk Association encourages the Directorate of Fisheries to assess whether closure is sufficient for 14 days before automatically opening the closed area.
“The Pelagic Association has no objection to closure for longer than 14 days if it is biologically naive. However, closures should not be longer than expected, and it is important that closures do not have negative consequences for fisheries where there is no problem with unwanted interference. One alternative might be to introduce the more stringent closing criteria this year, and possibly increase the closing time to three weeks next year, if it turns out that 14 days is too short. Legislative technology should be possible without a new hearing.
“If the Directorate holds a three-week closure, the Pelagisk Association requests that the authorities allow trial fishing for two weeks. The authorities can then assess whether there are grounds for opening the area.
“Finally, I would urge the Directorate to use a Norwegian term for “Real time closures”.”
Source: Pelagisk Forening