Sunday, 7 April 2013

More cod, bigger cod

We have covered the ridiculous scare story of their being practically no grown cod in the North Sea herehere and here.

Now, thanks to EUReferendum, we can examine another side of the story. Well, not that particular story as this does not concern the CFP. It seems that in countries outside that noxious system the number and size of cod has been growing to the point that fishermen in Alaska are complaining about the drop in price. Well, yes, that is what happens when there is more produce.

However, the really interesting development is to be found in the Barents Sea. Last October the Barents Observer recorded that

The Barents Sea cod stock is growing and spreading northwards and eastwards. Never before have scientists found cod as far north as during this year’s ecosystem mission.


Norwegian and Russian scientists recently concluded this year’s joint ecosystem mission to the Barents Sea. The conclusion is that the cod stock in the Barents Sea has set a new record when it somes to northern distribution.

The Russian research vessel “Vilnjus” found cod as far north as 82 degrees 30 minutes north.

The cod stock in the Barents Sea is considered to be the largest in the world. The quotas for 2013 will probably be over 900.000 tons.

In March was reporting that the predictions were coming true.

Six Icelandic factory trawlers have been fishing in the Norwegian and Russian zones of the Barents Sea. One of them is HB Grandi’s Venus, and according to this trip‘s skipper Haraldur Árnason, there are a huge amounts of fish on the grounds, including on the Malaga shallows and the Fugløy bank in the Norwegian zone where the Icelandic vessels have mostly been fishing.

The skippers are complaining - not a good development. With more cod and bigger cod the price per tonne will fall. They might have to think of joining the EU after all. (Just kidding.) There are other ways of dealing with the problem and Norway is looking at them. One can look to improving quality or to spreading the season. (This article about a report released by the Norwegian research institute Nofima is well worth reading in full.)

As EUReferendum says very pertinently:

That Norway is even able to consider these options rests almost entirely on its refusal in 1994 to join the European Union (for the second time). As it stands, fisheries stocks in the Barents Sea are managed by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission, established in 1975.

Had Norway become an EU member, it would have handed control of its fisheries to the Commission, to be treated as a "common resource". The EU would be negotiating directly with Russia, excluding Norway from the table.

And like Britain, it might have been looking at quotas in the tens of thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands of tons it is currently catching, with their fleet a fraction of the size. It is a small wonder that the EU's CFP was one of the main reasons why Norway didn't want to join.

Would it be possible for our politicians, journalists and other would-be experts to understand that.?


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