Representing & Supporting Shetland’s Fishermen

Ministers urged to take a closer look at cod quota advice
September 3rd 2021

Fishermen in Shetland are warning Scottish and UK government ministers to think twice about cutting cod quotas next year after official figures showed there were 285 million of the fish in the North Sea.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is recommending a reduction in the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod of 10.3%, even though it also admits that doubling quotas for the species would mean an increase of 24% in the size of the stock by 2023.

Moreover, analysis of ICES’ own figures shows that North Sea cod is abundant, with the population up from 180 million in 2018.

“There are many more North Sea cod than there are rats and mice in the UK, and almost four times more than the most common land mammal, the field vole,” said Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins.

“And yet green NGOs constantly go around describing cod as ‘threatened’ or ‘endangered’ or at risk of ‘extinction’. They should be ashamed of themselves for peddling such nonsense.

“Our governments need to ask themselves whether they are willing to create insoluble problems for our fishing fleet just because an ICES computer says so. It has often been wrong in the past, and in terms of cod it is catastrophically wrong now.”

The SFA along with the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association (SWFPA) have asked both the Scottish and UK governments to create an independent panel to assess the ICES numbers and put them into proper perspective.