Cod Heads Back to the "Do Not Eat" List

By Gary Cutlack on at

Scientists almost certainly wearing lovely jumpers while advising the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea have warned on North Sea cod stocks, saying that the poor fish is yo-yoing back down in numbers towards another population crash that'll have us told not to catch it or eat it for a few years.

This is a bit confusing, as a mere two years ago a rival group of sea watchers said it was fine to have fish fingers for lunch and dinner again, and they didn't have to be made of weird types of brown fish either or mechanically separated and reformed octopus chunks, as the cod stocks were holding up well.

The ICES people are blaming new rules on discarded catches for the apparent plummet in North Sea cod levels, because more cod is allowed to be landed in return for stricter regulations about throwing back unwanted varieties accidentally caught as a by-catch. ICES says the cod catch should be reduced by 63 per cent, recommending fisherpeople catch just 10,457 tonnes next year.

Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation says his people have got this, though, and the future isn't necessarily picking bones out of huss and dogfish down the chippy. Armstrong said: "The fishing industry has a long and noble tradition of adapting to the ever-shifting dynamics of the natural world, and while it won't be easy, we will do what is necessary to help restore the stock." [BBC]

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