From: Jan M. Olsen, Associated Press
Published June 7, 2005 12:00 AM

International Research Group Calls for Reductions in Cod Fishing in North Sea

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — An international marine research group warned Monday that the outlook for cod stocks in the North Sea was poor and called for a reduction in fishing off Norway, in inner Danish waters and around the Faeroe Islands.


The Copenhagen-based International Council for the Exploration of the Sea said it would call for at least a 50 percent reduction in cod fishing off the Faeroe Islands, located between Scotland and Iceland. A detailed report on fish stocks was to be published Friday.


The 19-country group monitors about 135 types of fish and makes its recommendations on fishing quotas to national governments and the European Union twice a year.


The once-common cod has long been a staple of European diets, but stocks have dropped dramatically in recent decades and increasingly tough catch quotas set by individual European Union nations have failed reverse the trend.


In recent years, scientists say North Sea cod stocks have shrunk to about 10 percent of 1970 levels, and warned of depletion on the scale that seen in eastern Canadian waters, where cod largely disappeared in the 1990s.


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"The outlook for some cod stocks is not so optimistic," the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea said in a statement.


Cod stocks near the Norwegian coast and in the Kattegat Sea between Denmark and Sweden are now at very low levels and serious reductions in fishing are needed, ICES said.


Figures on stocks would be released Friday with the report, ICES spokesman Neil Fletcher said.


The council's Advisory Committee on Fisheries Management has based its assessments on marine scientists in its 19 member countries.


In March, EU members clinched a deal intended to protect cod and other threatened fish species from overfishing by setting up an agency to manage fisheries.


Source: Associated Press


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