fishery (fish meal and fish oil).
In the EU waters, a significant industrial fishery is taking place (ca.
1.5 million tons per year) with trawls using small meshes, for
other species, used for the production of fish meal and oil.
Except from the sand eel fishery during the months of April-July,
the industrial fishery has serious problems with by-catches of
other species of juvenile fish. This situation has developed so
drastically that it now gives an almost absurd dimension to the
discussions of cutting down the quotas of especially cod and
The plans of reducing the total allowable catches (TAC) of cod and
haddock in the EU by 80 %, or entirely stopping these fisheries,
aim at saving the stocks of these species from a threatening
collapse by prohibiting fish caught for consumption.
The Danish quota in 2002 of cod and haddock for consumption in the
13,000 tons. An 80 % cut would mean that around 10,000 tons less
could be caught.
In comparison, the total annual catch in the Danish industrial fishery is
around 1,000,000 tons. (This includes mainly sand eel, sprat,
According to the national regulation a by-catch of 5 % cod and
haddock is permissible, as well as a total 15 % of “other fish”,
incl. also herring, saite, etc.
Much more than 5 % is actually caught as by-catch in the industrial
fishery, but even if this limit were respected, it would still
mean 50,000 tons of cod and haddock, most of which is undersized
fish. If each undersized fish weighs 100 g. this relates to
500,000,000 juvenile fish.
Not only do the by-catches in the industrial fishery make out nearly four
times the present quotas for cod and haddock, they also –
due to the size of these fish – represent a very real danger to
the sustainability of renewing these stocks.
Therefore, preventive measures aimed at conservation should be aimed at
the industrial fishery and its by-catches; not at the sustainable
fishery, which catches adult fish for human consumption.
In the EU waters, protected areas – such as the “plaice box” in the
, the Shetland
box, the “mackerel box”, etc. – have been established. The
purpose of these is to protect the juvenile fish against fishing.
In the plaice box e.g., you are not allowed to trawl with an
engine power exceeding 299 hp.
Except from the directly illegal fishery taking place in the plaice box
however, there is a significant “legal” trawling conducted
from vessels employing engine powers of 800-1,000 hp. This is
accepted by some authorities, when approving and financially
subsidizing new constructions and renewals of engines, which
officially produce a maximum of 299 hp (the engines are fixed
especially for the inspection to show a capacity that does not
exceed the standards), while when fishing in reality are able to
provide 2-3 times as much power. Employing
fishing gear (heavy trawls) on these vessels is virtually impossible with a maximum of 299 hp.
So therefore, fishermen must choose what rating they want for their
engine, without the possibility of it being changed, and that
would mean that only fishermen with smaller engines would be able
to fish in these protected areas.
and seining on stoney ground and reefs.
of many of the fish stocks in the EU, is closely connected to the
trawling and seining on stoney ground and reefs. Fishing in these
places is a technique, which is still developing, and this
aggressive and highly energy consuming fishing has serious and
irreversible consequences for the productive, and biologically
important stoney grounds and reefs.
In order to
restore the stocks of cod and haddock, measures must be taken to
stop this type of fishery. The vessels which have specialized in
fishing on rocks should be provided financial help to either
reconvert to a more resource- and nature friendly fishery, or to