Cod Recovery Symposium 2008

Cod recovery

Summary findings of a Symposium, 2007

Findings of

MJ Kaiser

Bangor University . Need for Alternative Management

Spatial management is required.

No take zones, Temporary closures, Education programmes, outcomes and measures for objectives.

Need to consider economic consequences of above (perhaps a need to include socioeconomic consequences)

 Spawning aggregations. Prevent fishing?, or should protection be directed at egg, larvae or adult. Complex system for Cod and the bottom sea floor habitat has a role to play in sustaining stocks. Need for suitable habitat to protect stocks. Therefore good stock management comes via good habitat management.

Ecological Structure

There are many stocks in the North Sea. Need more info about the structure of stocks.

Know from tag release and recapture studies. How many individual  stocks are there, how different, how interdependent? One stock / single multi stock management may be appropriate depending on the stock structure. May require individual management processes for each individual stock.  

Fishing impacts

What effect does fishing as an activity have on the fish beyond catching impact? Egg, habitat damage. Are traditional managments approaches appropriate vs. spatial


Habitat and Behaviour

Fishermen and humans in general can be creatures of habit. Activities will be implemented and areas fished, technologies tried because past experience has indicated that they work. The same areas tend to be targeted which may preclude outcomes. (Important to be innovate, try things out take risks and have some security to cover for risks)  

Bottom Trawling

Chronic bottom trawling does have a negative impact on habitat. Studies have shown that the functional composition of benthic invertebrates can alter the energy structures of the ecosystems and can have far reaching consequences on dermesel and pelagics

Dispalcement of effort

What are the consequences of fishing effort? Is it a good idea to keep fishing and displace the effort to an area where there is less environmental impact? For example by protecting aggregations of spawning stocks in an inn effective manner there may be a tendency to over fish in more environmentally sensitive areas to catch the same number of fish but increasing the overall negative impact of fishing.

Recovery time

How long does it take for individual area to recover??


How is effort related to mortality, by catch habitat destruction and efficient catching?

Discussion Celtic Sea Open session  

Need for more modelling / efficacy modelling

F factor ????

COD recovery plan over ten years;  2015 target

There is a real need to evaluate the impact of the current closure

 and to define how fits in with long term management plan.

Should access to grounds be denied?  

Should their be licensing in addition to quota

Gear selectivity factors.

Consider energy expended and economy. Sustainability. Cost and return on investment for catching a diminishing return.

Science needs to do more. To define stocks, stock dynamics and to communicate with stakeholders

Lyndsay Harris  Feed back re challenges in the Irish Sea

Ecology economics and socioeconomics

The Nature of the problem provides a good starting point


How good is our current data? (How real, how virtual?


Need for education to understand the data


Need for a collaborative project

Between Industry scientists, administrators in Ireland and Britain

Need for improved data from individual fishing vessels

. E.g. discgards,

Need to assess habitat impacts

One size does not fit all. Carbon copy plans are not the answer

Cod audit of the Irish Sea required

Eco system impacts, Processing and consumer, Effect of global warming and other factors on Cod migration

Need for experts to get together to discuss

Time is need e to think through any proposals (How much time???)


Existing closed areas. No real effect yet demonstrated. Need to stay with it. (How long does it take for habitats to recover?)

Total closure could do harm by closing down other valuable fisheries eg prawn

Need to keep economic and socio economic perspective

Technical solutions

Need for Buy in from fishermen to the schemes

There were no working fishermen in this group representing the Irish Sea


Our Cod are different. Different unique population.

F estimate to high

Long term target for fishing mortality ( catch ) needs to be identified

To achieve maximum sustainable yield.

What timescales are appropriate

Need to keep open minded ( innovation security risk )

Regional approach to accommodate unique interests

Delivery ;

Needs consensus , and collaboration and agreement

Incremental change

Recognition that Cod is not a single species . Mixed fishery including other Cod stocks? And other non cod stocks

Definite need for industry buy in

Economic impacts on the skippers and boat crews

Cost benefit analysis

Short term pain for long term gain

 Risk assessments

Don’t undermine other stocks

Gear configuration

Important that through out this process that fishermen stay economically viable

Need for very good co operation between fishermen and scientists

Validity of data

Info re disguards etc

Displacements eg Monkfish and Megrim

Gear , vessel , habitat, Biology , closed areas , protection of year class, seasonality ,

Role for RAC to invest in Stakeholders, European Commission, Non fishing stakeholders .


Reduction of F

How ? What ?

Need for improved knowledge

Management solution must be based on what is happening and what has happened.

There is currently no consensus view about what is happening between fishermen and scientists

Where are the scientists working ? Need to discuss with member states and ICES,.

Fishermen need feedback about how the information is used.

Scientists need to take account of the information they receive back and take responsibility for collaboration .

Consider the cost required for today for an improved future. No gain without pain. Investment in the future

Days at sea approach is counter productive  TRUST is key

Technical and fish behaviour measures

Need for observers on board . Should be incentives for acceptance of days at sea by getting a free observed day ( i.e. day at sea doesn’t count when being observed)

Controls , are the y strict enough /

Controls need to take account of culture, behaviour , history, uniqueness

Cod audit, fishermen buy in

 North Sea Eskilid Kirkegadd

If we can’t agree on what the problem is how can we set about to solve it?

Currently there is no agreement on the state of the stock

Trends are more important than absolutes.

Need clear indication of target for fishermen, /Leadership

Need for stakeholders to be involved at all stages

Need to see big picture and where we fit in

 Role for RAC

Increase the role for/ of scientists

If want to show leadership need data

More data , better data, how will the data be used..

Need to move a way form crisis management to incremental management

Impact assessment

Selective gear

West of Scotland

Uniqueness of west of Scotland

Mapping is important with so many bays etc

Where do we want to go. Is biomass more important than other population and habitat ?

Need to identify what indicators ( species goals, ecology, and stock structure.

Spawning , juvenile, targeted species

Management of closures

Seal predation


Black landings

Need Data

Mapping and boxes required

Real time info

Identify if boats are working for prawns or other

 Industrial fishing for sand eel , should be disallowed .

 Meetings and collaborations have a strong cultural element       

Fishing is a complex issue .

Commissioners a re given responsibilities and answerable to those who pay salary

Commissioners need confidence to know they are Woking on behalf of key interests

Commissioners are asked to take care of the management of fisheries.  Who else can do it? You are the customers of the commission. There are rapid changes in the world. We need to be ever more involved with stakeholders

A key question is, does the commission have the resources to expand

Do you each have the resources to expand. There is definitely a role for Regional and local level management. Challenge for the European commission to give a leadership role and facilitate. There is a role for member states. There will be many disagreements but the commissions now closer to point of disagreement and member states and regional bodies can disagree to a higher level than before.

It is possible to recover Cod stocks

Global warming and ecosystem adjustments are no reason for inaction. There is no quick fix however.

Too early to conclude the impact to plans and implementation of plans to date.

Clear signs that reduced catch / mortality will show and increase in stocks

F is a good objective. But need more on spawning stock Biomass SSB

The industry , Environmental policy, Fishermen, are key. Vital to get support of fishermen for any implemetation.

TAC needed since there is a need to sustain fish stocks to ensure that sustainable fishing can continue.

There needs to be a process of incentive s to encourage use of selective gears and sustainable fishing. Need to focus on implementation and enforcement in addition to buy in.

Commissiions reflection. European commission for Fisheries and maritime affairs.

Political master is the EC  omission. If the stocks are deteriorating then there may not be much we can do. How far are fishermen form achieving the targets set by conservation masters.

The European commission likes to think that it listens to complaints. The commission –pleads for cooperation. Stocks can be recovered but there is an uncertainty about the effects that global warming will have. It needs to be assumed that stocks are recoverable ( what would be the alternative?)

Need to gain more information re ecology impacts of climate change. Over what time frame. What effects on economic and socioeconomic stability.

Desire to keep progress momentum without making over complex

There is a need for balance between complexities based on stock assessments.

There is a need to harvest other valuable species that interact with cod .

Can’t and shouldn’t lock fishermen in to a process that is not right.

Economic and socio economic data is not yet in place

This is not a reason to be inactive. The precautionary approach would indicate quite the opposite. Definite need between science and Industry linked to the dynamics of the sea.

Research is  along term need that must be addressed.

We need the knowledge to make the right decisions

Can’t just enforce . need for buy in

It is said that the EU makes things too complex. The EU needs to respond by listening and managing to address local needs

Need for specificity to balance simplicity

These problems are shared

Need long term approach

Security for the future

Over arching principles

Consultations and conferences are key

The commission now has an opportunity to respond appropriately as have the key player to assist in the process defined by common goals.


EU European Parliament has no direct role  but only consultation.

The Cod recovery plan has not achieved it s goals yet. Still time but need to ensure that we have the correct target.

Since there are many diverse Cod stocks there is a need for contingent plans appropriate to the circumstances. Need for geographic stock assessments.

Cost benefit analysis, Displacement activity due to plans

Selectivity of gear.

Need for imaginative flexible solutions.

Establishment of working groups would help.

 Curt General Secretary ICES

Diverging perceptions. Where is the problem? Need for common approaches. Best possible science. –>.need to give best advice, sound management.

Science needs to be interdependent. Must not compromise the science process

Stakeholders need to be involved and contribute to the data.

Precautionary approach needs to prevail

Ices is not in command of the science, ? role for regional definition

MIKE PARK Commercial fisherman

Conditioned to regulations as he is a fisherman

Thinks that things are moving in the right direction

Due consideration needs to be given to times of low Cod productivity

Cod recovery may be too ambitious

Risk management strategies need to be adopted

Collaboration. Need for buy ion form fishermen

Trust essential

Partnerships crucial

Dealing with uncertainty

Anglers got a mention

WWF   ….

Do the least harm


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