No comeback for the cod

Fish stock not recovered despite efforts

Fishing for science © BFI
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Despite great efforts to protect the cod in the North Sea is still rare. This has now been shown by an investigation cruise of the fishery research vessel "Walther Herwig III". In addition, the first climatic changes in species composition can be measured in the German Bight.

On 17 August, the fishery research vessel "Walther Herwig III" returns from a 4-week research trip to the North Sea to Bremerhaven. Under the scientific direction of Dr. med. S. Ehrich of the Federal Research Center for Fisheries in Hamburg, the fish fauna was examined for long-term, possibly climate-induced changes. For the annual surveys carried out since 1987 in twelve permanent observation areas, which are distributed over the North Sea, this time also a team of experts from the Senckenberg Research Institute for the observation of the invertebrate soil animals was on board.

This year's catches by vessels confirmed once again that, despite the major effort to rebuild cod in the North Sea, there are still no signs of recovery of this fish stock. In contrast, other fish species were found to contain significant amounts of catches. For example, larger catches of young haddock and Norway pout were found in an area off the Scottish coast.

Changes in the fish and benthos fauna, which are due to a lasting change in the system (such as the warming, however, were only found in the German Bight.) Very striking is the high proportion of crabs in the catches. North Sea and Southern species) and the great crab, despite its fishing has become so common that it continues to penetrate into shallower and coastal areas.

Improving water quality in the rivers further increases finned fish, one of the most protected species in the EU. It is very sensitive to pollution and spawns in the rivers. The finte is already one of the more common species of fish in the marine area. On the stocks of seabirds, the changes in fish and benthic fauna seem to have no negative effects. Especially in the German Bight, thousands of them accompanied the ship on its way from station to station to get as much of the catch as possible. display

(Federal Research Center for Fisheries, 17.08.2005 - NPO)