SFF CEO Bertie Armstrong stated their conservation efforts are becoming successful. (Photo: YouTube,STVNews/YouTube,kintakintyea/FIS)
SFF slams media for misleading public
Wednesday, September 19, 2012, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) has condemned how some sections of the media are reporting on a scientific study on the number of adult cod in the North Sea. The SFF claims that some sources are painting a misleading picture of the status of the stock.
Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of SFF, argues that the media only used "the cherry picking of the facts" when stating that there were “only 100 adult cod in the North Sea.”
The research being reported on comes from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS). This study states that on carrying out a test of the captures in European ports, not a single cod was found over the age of 13 and it estimates that there could be fewer than 100 such fish left in the North Sea.
Armstrong added: "This is a classic example of the manipulation made of the facts without providing a balanced report on the true situation. According to current scientific research, the stock is showing clear signs of recovery in that the spawning stock biomass is increasing and fishing mortality is decreasing. It is unfortunate that some see fit to place undue focus on certain work.”
He explained that since cod mature and spawn well before the age of 13, they are therefore contributing to the stock biomass on an annual basis. Even though there has been an attempt to give the impression that there are few mature fish left, he said, maturity is directly related to both age and size and it is recognised that most cod of four to five years of age are mature.
This is borne out by other scientific research, like the Model of Growth and Maturity for North Sea Cod, which showed that 100 per cent of 5-year-old cod were mature, 82 per cent of 4-year-old cod were mature and 30 per cent of 3-year-old cod were mature.
“The fact is that scientific research is showing that the cod stock is recovering, thanks in part to the pioneering efforts of our fishermen to launch a range of conservation initiatives, including technical alterations to fishing gear and real time area closures. Indeed, only recently our prawn fishermen and netmakers have developed trawls that have reduced fish discards by up to 70 per cent,” Armstrong added. “The true situation is that our conservation efforts are helping North Sea cod to recover and secure a sustainable future for the stock.”
However, according to an article published in The Telegraph, the results of the study performed by Cefas generate concern. According to this source, as the cod is more fertile as it ages, researchers warn that a lower life expectancy meant a lower birth rate and a faster decline of the stock.
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By Natalia Real