“Last week, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) published two gloomy catch advices for cod in the North Sea and in the Kattegat.

Following the alarming report published in April which estimated that the cod stock in the Eastern Baltic is “in extremely depleted state”, the ICES has now announced that the cod population is in critical conditions also in the North Sea.

For 2020, ICES is recommending a 63% catch reduction in the North Sea and a zero-catch quota in the Kattegat in order to save the stocks and to secure long term sustainability of the cod stocks and the fisheries.

Cod is an extremely important species in the North Sea, which has been overfished for decades. The situation was slowly improving thanks to the recovery plan put in place by the EU in 2004 and agreed by Norway. However, following some positive years, recently the stock started to drop again to the critical levels assessed by ICES.

The EAA, along with many other NGOs, is now urging the EU Fisheries Ministers to follow the ICES scientific advices and adopt the necessary cuts in next year’s cod quotas in all concerned areas at the December Fisheries Council meeting. ”