The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) has welcomed a substantial increase in cod stock quota, which has today (08.06.12) been recommended by the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The 2013 quota for North East Arctic Cod in the Barents Sea has been recommended as 940,000 tonnes; a rise of more than 25 per cent against 2012’s quota of 740,000 tonnes.
Norway currently manages the largest and most sustainable cod stock in the world, with marine scientists estimating that there are around 3.5 million tonnes of cod in the Barents Sea. The Norwegian fishing industry has a unique way of managing fishing quotas and discards, having banned the process of discarding unwanted stock back into the sea 25 years ago in 1987.
Alongside this and the vast programme of stringent regulations already in place, the Norwegian fishing industry has worked tirelessly with Russia to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practises in the Barents Sea. The two countries have worked together to ensure that fish caught in the Barents Sea does not breach Norwegian-Russian fisheries legislation.
Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs says;
“Thanks to many years of good fisheries management, and our continual work with Russia, we have succeeded in building up the world's largest cod stocks. If the quota recommended by ICES is agreed, this means that a record high quota will be set for next year.”
Berg-Hansen continues: “Today we have a huge population of cod in the Barents Sea, and the 2013 quota will give us the largest catch that we will have seen in 40 years.”
According to the NSC, the increase in the recommended quota is a clear demonstration that Norway’s strong commitment to sustainable fisheries management is proving to be successful. Johan Kvalheim, Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council for the UK and France, comments: “The increasing cod quota in Norway is recognition that our ongoing commitment to sustainable fishing is working. It is excellent news, not just for the Norwegian economy and our fishermen, but for the millions of people who enjoy eating good quality seafood with a clear conscience.
“It is fitting that this announcement comes today, on World Oceans Day, and we are delighted that through this increase in quota, we can continue to meet the market demand for well-managed, sustainably caught cod. Consumers around the world can rest assured that they will be able to continue to enjoy top quality cod from the cold, clear waters of Norway for years to come!”
The final quota for next year will be determined by the joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission and finalised in October.