University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
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Society of Biology
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Fishing: European perspectives:

According to Defra statistics (2004), most fish stocks are over-exploited and some stocks are at historically low levels, especially North Sea Cod.

Alex Kirby, the BBC News Online environment correspondent, has
 reviewed the state of North Sea cod:

The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is designed to protect the dwindling fish stocks in European waters.
  • Strategies involve:
    • Reduction in total permitted annual catch plus inspections of catch and gear.
    • Regulate mesh size/shape and some styles of net.
    • Limit the areas which may be fished e.g. sanctuary zones.
    • Introduce closed seasons.
    • Reduction in the size of the fishing fleet.

    The common fisheries policy - why we manage fishing

  • Stocks in EU waters continue to decline due to the following reasons:
    • Advice given to government ministers may have been based on overestimation of the size of existing fish stocks.
    • Disgruntled fishermen may have been appeased with quota offers which were too high for the fish populations to sustain.
    • Throwing juvenile fish back into the water helps fishermen to keep to their quotas but discarded juveniles are too injured to survive.
    • Bye-catch deaths: catching other species in nets which are then discarded and mostly die.
    • Falsification of quota log books.
    • Money paid to fishermen to decommission their boats may be finding its way back into the industry and fund improvements in fishing gear so that more rather than less fish are actually caught.
    • Quota hopping: selling fish quotas to other fishermen (often non-UK). To understand the problem, look at  this document



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