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Scientists demand ban on North Sea cod fishing

'Reduced reproduction' threatens stocks

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The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has called for a ban on fishing for North Sea cod, The BBC reports.

The organisation's scientists have assessed stocks of this and other fish and concluded that while "saithe and haddock stocks are in good condition and can be the continued basis for sustainable fisheries...other important stocks like cod, whiting and herring are suffering from reduced reproduction in recent years."

Accordingly, ICES wants a "complete moratorium" on cod fishing. Its call comes before annual EU talks to decide quotas, which last year set the 2007 cod quota at 20,000 tonnes - a reduction of 14 per cent over the previous year but clearly 20,000 tonnes too many for ICES.

ICES's proposals also include a reduction in the plaice quota for 2008 from 50,261 tonnes (2007) to 26,000 tonnes and a cut in the whiting quota from 23,800 tonnes to 5,000 tonnes.

All the organisation's latest advice is available here and you can enjoy its PowerPoint presentation aimed at the European Parliament here. ®

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