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Marine / Ministers urged to take a closer look at cod quota advice

Fishermen dismiss green NGOs’ claims as ‘nonsense’

Photo: Shetland News
There are 285 million cod in the North Sea according to ICES.. Photo: Shetland News

FISHERMEN in Shetland are urging Scottish and UK government ministers not to be misled by claims from green NGOs that North Sea cod is an endangered species at risk of extinction.

The Scottish industry has repeatedly said cod was more than abundant in local waters, warning ministers to think twice before cutting next year’s quota.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is recommending a reduction in the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod of 10.3per cent.

Speaking in the run-up to quota negations for 2022, Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) – along with the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association (SWFPA) – has asked both the Scottish and UK governments to create an independent panel to assess the ICES numbers and put them into proper perspective.

ICES’ own figures shows that North Sea cod is abundant, with the population up from 180 million in 2018 to 285 million in 2021.

SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: ”There are many more North Sea cod than there are rats and mice in the UK, and almost four times more than the most common land mammal, the field vole.

“And yet green NGOs constantly go around describing cod as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ or at risk of ‘extinction’. They should be ashamed of themselves for peddling such nonsense.

“Our governments need to ask themselves whether they are willing to create insoluble problems for our fishing fleet just because an ICES computer says so. It has often been wrong in the past, and in terms of cod it is catastrophically wrong now.”