From: Associated Press
Published October 19, 2005 12:00 AM

Denmark-Based Group Urges Halt in Fishing for Threatened Deep-Sea Species

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Denmark-based marine research group on Tuesday called for a halt in fishing for several threatened deep-sea species, including the orange roughy, the roundnose grenadier, the Portuguese dogfish and the leafscale gulper shark.


"All our evidence indicates that the current fishing pressure on these stocks is much too high," said David Griffith, secretary-general of the Copenhagen-based International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.


ICES will urge sharp cuts in fishing quotas for some species until stocks can rebound enough to sustain catches. It will also release a report Friday calling for a complete revision of deep-sea fishing policies, including a ban on catching porbeagle and basking shark.


The group also called for a fishing ban on cod in the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the North Atlantic waters west of Scotland, saying the stocks were "well below minimum recommended levels," and on Iberian Peninsula hake in the south.


Several fish, like the haddock, the blue whiting and Norwegian spring spawning herring, are plentiful. However, the scientists said the present fishing pressure is too high and must be reduced in line with the long-term management plan agreed for this stock by the European Union and other countries in the North Sea, including Norway and Iceland which are not EU members.


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The European Commission, meanwhile, said it would call for more stringent fisheries conservation measures to be adopted by EU governments, including a possible fishing ban on southern hake.


The EU head office said it was studying ICES' recommendations.


EU fisheries ministers are expected to discuss a possible ban on fishing for southern hake next week. Scientists are recommending a "zero catch" for the species. The commission will draft its own annual catch quotas for next year by December, and they will have to be approved by EU governments.


Source: Associated Press


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