Journal Article

The Irish Sea cod recovery plan: some lessons learned

Ciaran J. Kelly, Edward A. Codling and Emer Rogan

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 4, pages 600-610
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
The Irish Sea cod recovery plan: some lessons learned

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  • Environmental Science
  • Marine and Estuarine Biology


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Historically, cod has been one of the most important fish stocks in the North Atlantic. Recent stock collapses have been attributed to overfishing, and in February 2000 the European Commission established a closed area in the Irish Sea as part of a general recovery plan. The recovery plan was further revised and implemented between 2001 and 2005. However, the recovery plan has not provided the expected benefit, and the stock is still thought to be below the safe limit of Blim = 6000 t. We use stochastic simulations to investigate possible stock trajectories over a seven-year period from 1999 to 2005 under various scenarios of fishing mortality. Comparing the results of simulations with reality, it is clear that more drastic action is required if the stock is to recover in the medium term. The recovery plan was not explicitly designed to deal with uncertainty in the system, and this, we believe, resulted in the failure to meet the recovery plan objectives.

Keywords: closed areas; Irish Sea cod; recovery plans; stochastic simulations

Journal Article.  7130 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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