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North Sea cod forecast to become sustainable in five years

North Sea cod. (Photo Credit: FishBase)

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Thursday, April 09, 2015, 01:20 (GMT + 9)
A team of researchers have stated that North Sea cod stocks are improving fast and could be certified as sustainable in five years’ time.
According to this research, commissioned by Seafish and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), although 400 of the 450 inshore fisheries showed either being overfished or lacking management or data, fish populations might be healthy at present, The Guardian reported.
For his part, Dr Tom Pickerell, technical director at Seafish pointed out: “It [North Sea cod] is one of those that could potentially be a few years from entering MSC certification."
"It’s on a trajectory that if it continues then it can come into a level that’s long-term sustainable,” he explained.
However, the Seafish report, which is part of an attempt to analyse all of England’s inshore fisheries and develop a “roadmap” designed to show what actions are needed to improve each of them, reveals this fishery current status is not totally clear because of severe lack of scientific data on the stock size and how many are caught by fishermen each year.
In reference to North Sea cod, The Marine Conservation Society still regards as it a species "to avoid" because it remains at historically low levels, despite recognizing that the stocks are recovering and that there are “very positive” signs.
Experts in the field contacted by FIS. com explained that the species was heavily overfished in the North Sea in the 1980s and 1990s but since 2006, and added that with strict regulations imposed on the industry, it has shown a steady recovery and is approaching the level of maximum sustainable yield.
Many environmentalists and well-known chefs recommend consuming gurnards as a sustainable alternative to overfished species but there are concerns about them because of a lack of data on their numbers and an absence of controls on catching them.

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