Stock is harvested sustainably. However landings mostly comprise young fish and the stock is heavily dependent on incoming recruitment. Atlantic cod is listed by OSPAR as a threatened and declining species in this area.
Cod belongs to a family of fish known as gadoids, which also includes species such as haddock, pollack, pouting, and ling. It is a cold-temperate (boreal), demersal (bottom-dwelling) species.They spawn in winter and spring from February to April. In the North Sea; cod mature at 4-5 years at a length of about 50cms and can live up to 60 years.
Spawning Stock Biomass is above Bpa and assessed as having full reproductive capacity. Stock is harvested sustainably. However more than 80% of the landings are made up of age groups 1-3 and the stock is heavily dependent on incoming recruitment. Atlantic cod is listed by OSPAR as a threatened and declining species in the Greater North Sea and the Celtic Sea. In order to protect cod stocks in this area, Cornish fishermen's leaders, and their Irish and French counterparts, went to the European Commission with proposals for a 3,600 sq. mile 'closed season' off Trevose Head in the Bristol Channel. The closure was first introduced in February 2005. As far as MCS is aware, this is the largest industry proposed conservation closure area in Europe. However, the direct impact of the closure on the status of cod has not as yet been quantified. A plan for this stock is under development by the North Western Waters Regional Advisory Council (NWWRAC). ICES advises that landings in 2013 should be no more than of 10,200 t.
Cod is caught in a number of ways including demersal otter trawl (76%), beam trawl (12%) and gillnet (4%). There is potential damage to the seabed by trawling. Trawling is also associated with discarding of unwanted fish, i.e. undersized and/or non-quota and/or over-quota species. From a total catch of 7.3 kt in 2011 35% was discarded. A major reason (70%) for discarding was attributed to highgrading - which is the throwing away of marketable fish for better quality fish in order to maximise the value of the catch.
The Net Effect. A WDCS Report for Greenpeace. Ross and Isaac (2004); The Price of Fish: A review of cetacean bycatch in fisheries in the north-east Atantic. L Nunny (2011).
(Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 3 and below are included.)
Read what the consumer pages of the Good Fish Guide say about this species.
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