Cod to be caught in greater numbers thanks to new North Sea deal

Chip shop favourites such as cod, haddock and sole can be caught in greater numbers in UK waters after ministers secured a new deal.

A fisherman holding a freshly caught cod, as chip shop favourites such as cod, haddock and sole can be caught in greater numbers in UK waters after ministers secured a new deal. (Photo: PA)

The EU agreed to increase the sustainable fishing quotas for a variety of valuable fish in British waters for 2017.

A 16.5 per cent increase in cod that can be caught in the North Sea was agreed as well as a 25 per cent increase in Irish Sea haddock and a 20 per cent boost to sole in the Western Channel.

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A 7 per cent rise in haddock was also agreed in the channel while an increase of 8.6 per cent was agreed for the Norway Lobster, commonly used in scampi, in the Irish Sea.

But a hefty blow was dealt to net fishermen catching sea bass, who will see their hauls reduced by around 80 per cent, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

And a 38 per cent reduction of cod caught in the Celtic Sea was deemed necessary for sustainability.

Fisheries minister George Eustice celebrated the negotiations with the fisheries council in Brussels and vowed that the Government would continue to enforce sustainable fishing after exiting the EU.

He said: "To deliver a profitable fishing industry, we must fish sustainably now and in the future. This year we were able to agree further increases in quotas on some valuable species as stocks have recovered, especially in the North Sea.

"There have been some challenges especially on stocks like bass and cod in the South West where action to curtail catches has been necessary, but we have worked hard to secure an agreement striking the right balance that delivers for both our marine environment and coastal communities.

"As we prepare to leave the European Union we have an opportunity to build on progress made and improve the management of fish stocks in our waters, but we will continue to follow the principles of fishing sustainably and ending the wasteful practice of discarding fish."

Further increases in the North Sea include 17 per cent for whiting, 20 per cent for anglerfish and 53 per cent for saithe.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said "overall" the deal was positive for Scotland, adding that it would bring "welcome economic stability" to fishing communities.

He added: "With Brexit now looming, fishermen can look to the future with real optimism as we are on the cusp of an exciting new era as a coastal state with full control of our 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

"This will give us the opportunity for fairer shares in catching opportunity and better fit-for-purpose sustainable fisheries management, which will benefit our coastal communities."