Whitby fishermen thank cod for huge increase in quotas

Whitby Harbour view. pic Richard Ponter 155116b
Whitby Harbour view. pic Richard Ponter 155116b

Sometimes you have to wait an awful long time for good news – but Whitby’s fishing community has finally been given a big reward for their patience and it should make Christmas extra special.

Arnold Locker, owner of Locker Trawlers, forwarded the EU Directive fresh off the press from Norway.

The total increase in cod quotas is a massive 15% with even better news for haddock with an increase of 30% and a top-up quota of 17.3%, giving an overall increase to 61,933 tonnes, an increase for the UK of 12,800 tonnes.

Arnold said: “This is massive news and exceptionally good for the quota we own.

“It’s also fantastic news for UK fishermen.”

For cod to be increased by 15% and haddock 30% is beyond most expectations.

For those that have persevered in fishing the reward could finally be theirs.

Cod stocks were close to collapse back in 2002. On May 6, 2003, the commission finally released its proposal for a long-term recovery plan for cod. The proposal covered a number of stocks in EU waters that were threatened.

Measures included a combination of low catch limits, fishing effort limitations, and specific control and monitoring rules to ensure implementation.

The proposed recovery laid down the bones for achieving conservation and sustainability, taking a long-term approach to the management of stocks and applying a precautionary approach.

All of which appears to have worked, but has seen numerous fishermen unable to make a living from their reduced fishing quota’s and leave the industry in droves.

“We’ve managed to achieve these figures today with a steady increase in stocks over 13 years,” said Arnold. “I’m hoping this is just the first stage.

“When science turns round it can continue, and hopefully this increase of fish stock is just the beginning.”

“If these figures continue to increase for 3-4 years which is feasible, then it means there’ll be more fish to be caught, and more to go round for everyone.”

Forecast of cod returning in greater number have been slowly gathering pace over the past two years. The temperature of the sea has been getting warmer and somehow cod and haddock has adapted to the warmer climate.

Green NGO’s were predicting that this would be the final nail in the coffin for fishing, warmer seas meant the stocks would be depleted. Against the odds, and in the industry’s favour, there’s finally good news and good fishing to be had.