One day it will be proved that over fishing had nothing much to do with what happened to the Newfounderlanders in 92 or at any other time when the cod fishing collapsed as it did so several times in the past 500 years.
It seems industrial fish stocks are also in good health with boats having no trouble catching their large quotas.
Re the cod stocks off newfoundland, this don't look too good.
The depletion of the species has caused the decay and disappearance of hundreds of fishing villages on both sides of the Atlantic.
Overfishing off Canada's maritime provinces exhausted the world's richest cod grounds and forced the government to impose a fishing moratorium. The collapse wiped out more than 42,000 jobs, and 18 years later the fish have still not returned.
"It was devastating," said Tom Hedderson, minister of fisheries in Newfoundland. "This affected whole communities ... all up and down the coast here in Newfoundland and Labrador."
He welcomed the EU call to cut catches by 25 percent, but suggested more drastic cuts may be needed.
Some Canadian scientists believe the collapse of cod stocks off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia changed the marine ecosystem so dramatically that it may be impossible for cod to recover. Off Newfoundland alone, cod stocks once exceeded more than 400,000 tons but now scale only 5,500 tons, Hedderson said.
There are signs of recovery of Atlantic cod off New England, however, after years of conservation efforts. And international regulators have reopened some areas off Canada for limited fishing, Canada's Fisheries and Oceans Department spokesman Scott Cantin said.
Re the cod stocks, this don't look too good.
Brussels — Cod is slipping closer to disappearing from key European fishing grounds, officials warned Friday, saying that only steep catch cuts will prevent the disappearance of a species prized for centuries for its flaky white flesh.
The European Union's executive body called for sharp cuts in the amount of cod fisherman can catch next year — up to 25 percent in some areas. The European Commission said recent studies showed cod catches in some areas are far outstripping the rate of reproduction.
Scientists estimated that in the 1970s there were more than 250,000 tons of cod in fishing grounds in the North Sea, eastern English Channel and Scandinavia's Skagerrak strait. In recent years, however, stocks have dropped to 50,000 tons.
"We are not that far away from a situation of complete collapse," said Jose Rodriguez, a marine biologist with the environmental group Oceana. He and other environmentalists said pressure from the fishing industry had kept quotas at levels too high to sustain a viable populations around Europe, while lack of enforcement meant illegal fishing made the problem worse.
The European Commission said Friday it would seek in 2010 to cut the catch in some fishing grounds around Britain, France, Spain and much of Scandinavia from 5,700 tons to 4,250 tons.
The fishing industry in Europe, however, is in decline. The number of vessels in the 15 nations that were part of the EU in 1995 has dropped from 104,000 then to 81,000 in 2006. In Britain, employment in the fishing sector sank from 21,600 in 1990 to 16,100 in 2006.
The EU Commission's demand for cod cuts will be discussed by the bloc's 27-member states in a Dec. 14-15 meeting, when the fishing quotas for 2010 will be finalized.
"The scientific prognosis for most stocks is not encouraging, with many in a worse state than last year," Britain's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said Friday. "This, combined with the difficult economic climate, will mean that the negotiations will be even more challenging this time around."
Keeping fishermen in port with excessive quotas will add to their economic woes, said Bertie Armstrong of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation.
Edited by barry luxton, 24 October 2009 - 04:17 PM.