Marine Scotland Focused and targeted method to strengthen Clyde cod restoration

Focused and targeted method to strengthen Clyde cod restoration

February 1, 2022 by | Class Cod, Fisheries

Measures which have been in place for greater than 20 years to guard cod throughout their spawning season within the Firth of Clyde, will proceed in 2022 and 2023 with some adjustments.

The seasonal spawning closure within the Firth of Clyde in place from 14 February – 30 April will see adjustments launched to make it extra targeted and focused as in comparison with the closure areas beforehand introduced. The general measurement of the closure in comparison with earlier years can be lowered by 28%*, whereas offering elevated safety to spawning cod by prohibiting all fishing exercise within the closed areas. (*or 35% of the earlier Article 3(a) space solely).

Cod want to spawn on tougher substrate (coarse sand, gravel) however might also spawn on softer floor (sand, muddy sand, sandy mud). The revised closure space takes this into consideration, and solely prohibits fishing exercise in doubtless cod spawning areas whereas leaving muddy areas open for fishing exercise. This represents a change to the Scottish Authorities’s unique place. It should solely have a short-term affect on native fishers on condition that the closure of the fishery is for 11 weeks, however by taking motion now, we hope to see the inventory replenish which is able to finally be useful for fishing pursuits.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon mentioned:

“I wish to thank all of the stakeholders concerned for his or her participation and persistence in what have been extraordinarily constructive discussions over the previous few days. We now have listened to their issues and brought these on board.

“On account of these discussions and primarily based on the scientific proof, we’ve got launched closures which are extra targeted and focused, decreasing the general measurement of the closure in comparison with earlier years by 28%. Nevertheless, this a part of the Clyde space will nonetheless largely be closed to all fishing, eliminating disturbance throughout these essential 11 weeks for future cod shares.

“We’ll proceed our engagement with all events concerned and improve monitoring of exercise to be able to assess progress. A stocktake assembly can be held with stakeholders after the closure interval to mirror upon its effectiveness and impacts. We can even guarantee we study from this expertise and apply any classes to future closures.

“The revised closure areas are a practical and evidence-based answer to make sure that primarily, we’re nonetheless looking for to guard the spawning cod while additionally mitigating potential socio-economic impacts on our weak coastal communities.”

Stakeholders have been engaged in growing these adjustments and a evaluate assembly with stakeholders can be held following the tip of the closure in 2022 to evaluate its effectiveness and practicality. Through the closure the Scottish Authorities’s Marine Scotland directorate will improve monitoring of exercise and catches to evaluate particularly whether or not, and the place, cod are being caught exterior the closure areas, and whether or not they had been mature sufficient to spawn.

Map of the Clyde Cod Closure for 2022-23

Since its introduction in 2001, the annual closure of the spawning floor has included exemptions to permit Nephrops trawlers, creels and scallop dredgers to proceed to fish within the closure areas, as a result of low numbers of cod that they catch. Nevertheless, regardless of the continuing seasonal closure, the inventory has proven little signal of restoration.

Whereas spawning, cod are extraordinarily weak to fishing exercise. They’re focussed on mating, and the males are unwilling to depart their hard-won mating grounds (or “leks”), so each sexes are much less prone to attempt to evade oncoming fishing gear which implies that mating adults are at larger threat of being caught. As well as, bodily disturbance inside the related areas of the Firth of Clyde throughout the mating interval will disrupt the mating exercise and probably destroy the lek areas, and cod so disturbed might not return (and subsequently might not spawn that 12 months). If the stronger males are caught or disrupted leaving the weaker males, these males that stay might not have the ability to appeal to females. Furthermore, harassed males are much less prone to provoke mating. Noise might also disrupt mating, with females probably unable to listen to mating calls (Slabbekoorn et al 2010). Elimination of all fishing exercise inside the closure areas ought to considerably mitigate these dangers.

Scientific analysis round this subject means that any fishing exercise inside 10 metres of the seabed (which would come with trawling, dredging, diving and creeling) has the potential to affect on cod spawning exercise. This scientific proof was the idea of comparable fishing closures within the North Sea.

Elimination of the exemptions can even create consistency with administration in different areas, together with the UK Nationwide North Sea Cod Avoidance Plan, which covers closure areas for all gear varieties (excluding pelagic), and the current emergency Marine Protected Space (MPA) designation in sure areas of the Interior Sound and associated Marine Conservation Order, which incorporates prohibition on creeling to be able to defend the critically endangered flapper skate nursery space.

This choice aligns with the commitments within the coverage programme of the Bute Home Settlement between the Scottish Authorities and the Scottish Inexperienced Get together and our shared purpose to revive marine habitats in Scotland’s inshore waters.


The Scottish Statutory Instrument and extra info is out there to view on the Scottish Authorities website.

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