North Sea cod recovery?

  • Horwood J
  • O'Brien C
  • Darby N
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Abstract

Recovery of depleted marine, demersal, commercial fish stocks has proved
elusive world-

wide. As yet, just a few shared or highly migratory stocks have been
restored. Here we re-

view the current status of the depleted North Sea cod (Gadus morhua),
the scientific advice

to managers, and the recovery measures in place. Monitoring the progress
of North Sea cod

recovery is now hampered by considerable uncertainties in stock assessments
associated

with low stock size, variable survey indices, and inaccurate catch
data. In addition, ques-

tions arise as to whether recovery targets are achievable in a changing
natural environment.

We show that current targets are achievable with fishing mortality
rates that are compatible

with international agreements even if recruitment levels remain at
the current low levels.

Furthermore, recent collations of data on international fishing effort
have allowed estima-

tion of the cuts in fishing mortality achieved by restrictions on North
Sea effort. By the be-

ginning of 2005, these restrictions are estimated to have reduced
fishing mortality rates by

about 37%. This is insufficient to ensure recovery of North Sea cod
within the next decade.

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Authors

  • J Horwood

  • C O'Brien

  • N Darby

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