On December 23, the Fisheries Ministers for all 15 European Union nations decided to reduce catch limits for cod by 45%. They did so only in the wake of the recent crash of Northern European cod populations.
According to Danish Minister Mariann Fischer Boel, "This agreement takes into account the situation concerning threatened fish stocks, and ensures a sustainable fishery in the future." She added, "I think weve reached a good result which strikes a balance between consideration for the threatened stocks and consideration for the industry and local communities where fishing is of great importance."
Speaking from on board the Sea Shepherd marine conservation vessel Farley Mowat in the Southern Oceans, Captain Paul Watson responded to the European decision.
"It is always a case of to little, to late with these bureaucrats." He said. "When are they ever going to learn that you cannot continue to give industry half of everything that is left. In a few years time, the cod populations will be further diminished and they will give industry half of what remains again. It wont be long until there is little left to divide.
"These guys, who control the fate of the worlds fish, are not thinking, they will continue to appease industry until every single commercial fishery is destroyed. Weve seen this lunacy in Canada, in the United States, in Asia, in South America, and Europe. It is a policy of ever-increasing diminishment and it must end before we lose everything.
"If the world is serious about protecting the cod, then there should be an immediate 100% fifty year moratorium on the taking of cod. Lets leave these fish alone for awhile. Give the species a chance to replenish. The choice is between the present states of meager populations struggling to survive, and the possibility of regaining the abundance of this incredibly valuable species.
"In Newfoundland, every time there is a report of cod populations increasing even slightly, the government opens the fishery to exploitation. This is ridiculous and is a policy motivated by greed, and not common sense.
"The choice is simple. A fifty-year moratorium or extinction within fifty years. Do we care enough about our grandchildren to make this decision, or do we care only about ourselves?
"Considering the scarcity of cod in the world today, a fillet of cod on a plate is an obscenity, and a slap in the face to future generations.
"These magnificent fish once reached sizes exceeding three and sometimes four feet. We are now scouring the oceans to grab fish of less than a foot. Humankind needs to give these fish a rest. Give them time to reproduce, too grow and to play their part in marine eco-systems. We have a delicate and complex web of life in the seas, and it is madness to pluck the strands of this web away, one by one."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is calling upon the worlds governments to implement a fifty year moratorium on the taking of cod and the Society is calling on consumers to refrain from purchasing cod.
The Society is calling for a complete taboo on utilization of cod by all world-wide communities.
"We will be told that this is not a realistic approach," said Captain Watson. "What they mean is that they prefer the realistic demands of industry over the realistic demands of conservation. Mark my words, the cod will be as extinct within fifty years unless politicians have the courage to respect the realistic expectations of people who today are to young to vote and people as yet unborn.
This whoring for political contributions and votes must end if we are going to save our oceans."