EU environmental group Our Fish has called claims from a German fishing chief — that 2019 Baltic cod stocks would be abundant — “absurd and reckless”.
Responding to claims by Peter Breckling, general secretary of the German Fishing Federation, that “in 2019 the cod stocks will be gigantic” in the Baltic Sea, Our Fish program director Rebecca Hubbard said:
“Mr Breckling’s claims regarding abundant Baltic cod stocks in 2019 are absurd and reckless. One strong year class for western Baltic cod is not evidence that the ‘fishing crisis will be over in 2019’.”
Baltic cod stocks are still at the second-lowest biomass levels since the early 1980s, and are still outside safe limits for repopulating to a healthy state, she said.
Western Baltic cod quotas are set far too high to rebuild these fish stocks to healthy levels, with ministers at the recent Agrifish meeting agreeing on quotas four times higher than the most cautious advice recommended by fisheries scientists, Hubbard added.
“If the German government continues to listen to fishing industry representatives like Mr Breckling, and making promises that are impossible to deliver on, it risks inducing a collapse of Baltic cod fish stocks instead of rebuilding them, as is required under EU fisheries law.”