"European Cod Stocks Collapsing"

"BRUSSELS, Belgium – Cod is slipping closer to disappearing from key European fishing grounds, officials warned Friday, saying that only steep catch cuts will prevent the disappearance of a species prized for centuries for its flaky white flesh.

The European Union's executive body called for sharp cuts in the amount of cod fisherman can catch next year – up to 25 per cent in some areas. The European Commission said recent studies showed cod catches in some areas are far outstripping the rate of reproduction of a fish that fed coastal communities for centuries.

Scientists estimated that there were more than 250,000 tons of cod in important fishing grounds in the North Sea, eastern British Channel and Scandinavia's Skagerrak strait in the 1970s but stocks have dropped to 50,000 tons in recent years."

Raf Casert reports for the Associated Press October 16, 2009.

Source: AP, 10/19/2009