Total ban needed if species is to survive

The EU has been urged to ban North Sea cod fishing if the species is to survive. Cod stocks, as well as the Bay of Biscay anchovy, have suffered from chronic overfishing in recent years, says the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Last year the EC ignored scientists’ warnings that a total ban is required, for fear of wrecking fishing communities. Instead, with the EU ministers’ backing, it opted for a small quota of 26,500 tonnes.

‘There are still numerous stocks that are too heavily fished and stocks that are depleted, notably cod stocks and sandeel in the North Sea,’ the ICES said in a statement. ‘For all southern stocks, with the exception of cod in the western Baltic, there should be no catch in 2007.’