ICES released the latest catch advice for Baltic fish stocks on May 31st. There are several worrying signs but by far the most dramatic is the situation for the western cod stock in areas west of Bornholm. ICES is advising to reduce commercial catches by 89% compared to last years catches! ICES advices on total commercial catch of only 917 tons compared to last years commercial catch of 8400 tons. The stock is in very poor shape and all stock health indicators are below what is called the limit values as fishing pressure has been too high for the past 20 years. The stock status and ICES advice basically means that all catches must be brought down to a minimum.
In accordance with the new management plan and the CFP, emergency measures are called for. CCB considers it clear that in this situation, cod can basically only be taken as bycatch and targeted fishery, commercial or recreational, should stop temporarily. It has been clear for the past 3-4 years that this situation will come and BALTFISH, the Council and the Commission has not been able to act responsibly and reduce the fishing enough so far. The fishing pressure must be brought down to MSY level and measures to rebuild the stock is not longer optional or can be put off for the future. We call upon BALTFISH to set catch levels in line with advice and the Commission to defend the new management plan targets and MSY.
Read all of ICES Baltic Sea advice here
A summarized description of ICES advice in a short and explained format can be found at the Fisheries Secretariat website