The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has reported that there will be a new quota council for North Sea cod, although the implementation date will be in 2024.
This reduction comes after a review of the method last winter, in which researchers are now paying more attention to the genetics of cod.
Scientists explained that cod divides into three subpopulations that spawn in separate areas in the North Sea: Northwest, South, and "Viking" (Northeast). These different populations have different characteristics.
Specifically, as explained in the research, the subpopulations have different statuses but often mix in fishing, so to ensure sustainable exploitation, the council "aims for a quota that guarantees exploitation of the weakest ones."
"This is because the subpopulation that spawns in the south is heavily fished and requires stricter protection than the others. Since we know that otherwise populations mix, this requires less fishing pressure on all cod in the North Sea. The southern subpopulation thus reduces the total number of inhabitants," explained Bjarte Bogstad, marine researcher and representative of ICES.
For this reason, researchers have recommended a total quota of 22,691 tons. This new figure represents a 13% reduction from the recommendations for cod fishing in the North Sea this year.
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) serves as an intergovernmental marine science organization. Its mission involves providing impartial evidence on the condition and sustainable utilization of oceans and seas. ICES aims to enhance and disseminate scientific insights regarding marine ecosystems and their functions. ICES leverages this knowledge to craft cutting-edge recommendations aimed at achieving conservation, management, and sustainability objectives.