Atlantic Cod, North Sea, Demersal seine

Gadus morhua
Content last updated
11 November 2019
Stock
Cod (Gadus morhua) in Subarea 4, Division 7.d, and Subdivision 20 (North Sea, eastern English Channel, Skagerrak)
Management
European Union
Stock Status
5 of 5
Very high risk
Management
3 of 5
Moderate risk
Bycatch
3 of 5
Moderate risk
Habitat
3 of 5
Moderate risk

Stock status

5 of 5
Very high risk

North Sea cod has been scored a very high risk. This is because this year’s ICES advice places the stock outside safe biological limits.

Fishing mortality decreased from very high levels in the period from 2003 to 2013 and from 2012 until 2016 it was stable above the at risk level (Fpa). However, since 2016 the fishing mortality has increased and is now assessed as outside safe biological limits (above Flim). Although the spawning stock biomass has been on an upward trajectory since 2006 the most recent assessment indicates that this increase plateaued in 2015-6 and has shown a downward trajectory since to being outside safe biological limits (below Blim) in 2019. 

The recruitment of young fish has been low since 1998 and in 2018 is estimated to be very low.

Management

3 of 5
Moderate risk

The management of the North Sea cod has been scored a moderate risk. The stock is assessed annually by ICES, and control measures over the past decade seemed to be allowing the stock to recover. However, the recent trend in spawning stock biomass has been downwards resulting in advice for a 61% reduction in Total Allowable Catch (TAC).

There is some uncertainty as to the effect of the implementation of the Landings Obligation has on control and accounting for catches.

Bycatch

3 of 5
Moderate risk

This fishery is scored as a moderate risk because of the potential of the gear to cause bycatch. There is very little published information on discard levels in seine fisheries. Discard rates by weight of around 15% have been reported for a small sample, which is about half the rate found in otter trawls (Enever et al 2007). However, this is likely to be highly variable.

Habitat

3 of 5
Moderate risk

This fishery is scored as a moderate risk because of the potential of the gear to impact seafloor habitats. The relatively minor effect of the ropes sweeping across the seabed are the most extensive physical effect of this gear with the ground gear, which is likely to penetrate more into the seabed, being a relatively small fraction of the total affected area.