Thursday, 20 September 2012

And while we are on the subject of mature cod

DEFRA is unhappy about the Sunday Times claims that seem to have been based on very little evidence. 

The myth: An article in The Sunday Times claimed that ‘fewer than 100 mature cod are left in the North Sea’. 

The truth: This is completely wrong, in fact we know there to be around 21 million mature cod in the north sea. Cod start to mature from a year old and are fully mature at age six. There are a small number of cod over the age of 12 years old which has always been the case in the North Sea even when fished at lower levels in the 1950s and 1960s. Cod older than 15 have rarely been recorded in the North Sea.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary, Richard Lochhead has also joined the fight frank and open discussion. 

Initiatives by Scottish fishermen have meant that cod discard rates have fallen from 62 per cent in 2007 to 24 per cent in 2011. Schemes such as the use of selective fishing gear, to help avoid catching undersized and unwanted fish, help to conserve the species, he said. 

The government says scientific advice from ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Seas) shows that there are 21 million mature cod (65,000 tonnes) in the North Sea with fish reproducing at a younger age. Some 60 per cent of four-year-old cod are mature rising to 100 per cent by age six.

This blog would like to open up the discussion even further. We have now heard from the media, the government and an official organization. Any fishermen would like to add their voice?


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