Leading researchers published a report yesterday that claims that “the majority of assessed stocks are fished sustainably” in the North Sea and West of Scotland.
Compiled by Paul Fernandes of the University of Aberdeen and Robin Cook of the University of Strathclyde, the report – Reversal of Fish Stock Decline in the Northeast Atlantic – appears in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. The authors analysed a huge amount of data on fish stocks collected at fish markets and at sea on hundreds of fishing and research vessels.
“Contrary to common perception, the status of our fish stocks is improving,” Fernandes said.
“Many of our stocks are not overfished; nature now needs to take its course for these fish to rebuild their populations.”
This latest report confirms the findings of another study carried out earlier this year by Ian Napier of the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway, which found that while stocks of some species had declined in the past, most had seen substantial increases over the last few years.
According to Dr Napier’s report, the stock of North Sea cod more than doubled in size between 2006 and 2012 while its fishing mortality rate fell by 43 per cent between 2000 and 2011. Moreover, the fishing mortality rate for North Sea cod was lower in 2012 than in any year since 1966.