North Sea cod stocks back on the road to sustainability

North Sea cod stocks are on the road to sustainability, according to Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) research.

The body, which certifies whether fish are caught through good practice, says it is too soon to tell exactly when the North Sea fishery will meet its mark.

But a spokesman said on current trends, it would be ready for certification within years rather than decades.

Stocks would still be in recovery then, James Simpson said, but they would have passed an acceptable level.

MSC certification is determined by the state of the stocks, the environmental impact of the fishery, and if there is a management system in place to maintain sustainability if circumstances change.

The latter two were already in place, Mr Simpson said…

The recovery was thanks to strict catch limits aided by a massive public campaign for sustainable fish, he said.

Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents fisherman in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, told Radio 4’s Today programme it was a “dramatic turnaround”.

“I think a major part of it is there are fewer vessels out there. There have been big decommissioning schemes.

There’s also been a change in the mindset in the industry. We work very closely with the scientists now.”

The article adds in some blather of worries about overfishing alternative species. Any journalist who just discovered that possibility knows nothing about fishing – or consumers. Dealing with that additional problem was always pretty much inevitable.

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