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New system for real time closures of fishing grounds in the North Sea and Skagerrak

"We have now introduced a new system for closing and opening fishing grounds in the North Sea and the Skagerrak in order to protect small fish and juveniles, and to reduce the problem of discard of fish," says the minister for fisheries and coastal affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

The minister for fisheries and coastal affairs launched to the new Norwegian system for closure and opening fishing grounds south of the 62nd parallel at the annual meeting of the Vessel owners Association.

A system for closure of fishing grounds if too many undersized fish are found in the catches has been in place in the Barents Sea for almost 30 years.  The very positive situation for the Norwegian Arctic cod stock, show that effective protection of young fish is an important part of sustainable management.

"The Norwegian management is built up around measures that contribute to fishermen not catching unwanted catches, especially juveniles. Our objective is that fish must become large enough to contribute in the reproduction in the stocks. What does not come on board will not have to be discarded. A dynamic system for closing and opening of fishing grounds plays, therefore, an important part in the Norwegian policy for preventing fish discards," says Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

The system in the North Sea and Skagerrak will be based on catch sampling at the grounds, and if the content of undersized cod, haddock, saithe and whiting exceeds 15 percent of the catch, calculated in number , it will be possible to close an area of up to 500 square nautical miles in the North Sea and 250 square nautical miles in the Skagerrak. A closed field will be automatically re-opened after 14 days unless new samples indicate that the closure should continue.

 

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