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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, 05:58 GMT
Guide to UK fishing industry

Fishing images

Fishing quotas are getting tighter, fishermen are considering their futures and scientists say further cuts to catches of species such as cod are needed to help numbers recover.

EU cod stocks and quotas

The 2007 quotas did not go as far as some experts recommended, but they did cut the amount of cod that could be caught by between 14% and 20% and reduced the number of days allowed for fishing.

Catch by UK vessels

UK vessels landed 614,000 tonnes of sea fish (including shellfish) in 2006, worth 610m - 13% down in quantity on 2005 but 7% up in value.
The number of young cod in the North Sea has risen for a second year in a row, but the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (Ices) warns that a 50% cut on 2006 catch levels is needed.

Number of UK fishermen and fishing vessels

Uncertainty within the industry has led to a gradual decline in the number of fishermen and vessels. Most are based in England and Wales (7,116), with 5,205 in Scotland and 613 in Northern Ireland.

Fishing areas around UK

Most of the fleet is based in England and Wales, but 61% of all UK landings were caught west of Scotland and in the northern North Sea.

Fish spawning grounds

Cod can take up to five or six years to reach maturity. A large proportion is taken before they can reach breeding age. Cod can reach up to 80cm in four years, but they can be caught at 35cm long. The minimum landing length for plaice is 27cm, but they can grow larger.

Discards flow chart

Catching haddock or plaice without catching cod as a by-catch is difficult. Cod are larger, so any net with holes big enough to let cod out would let out all the other fish as well.

Graph of North Sea discards

Unwanted by-catch - that is either too small or if quotas have already been reached - is discarded and dumped back into the sea. Most die from the experience.

Chart of imports and exports

Fish imports to the UK have increased since 2003 as exports have decreased. The UK imports most of its fish from Iceland (98,000 tonnes), Norway (61,000 tonnes), Denmark (58,000 tonnes).
Key export destinations are the Netherlands (84,000 tonnes), France (81,000 tonnes) and Spain (42,000 tonnes).

'Fair' deal at fisheries summit
19 Dec 07 |  UK Politics
'Slight recovery' for cod stocks
19 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
New wave of fishermen signing up
20 Jul 07 |  North East/N Isles
Cod conservation scheme launched
31 Aug 07 |  North East/N Isles
Has the fish supper had its chips?
12 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature

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