Cod is off-limits for Belgian fishermen until end of 2023

The cod fishing quota in the North Sea has been reached and Belgian fishermen will not be allowed to fish for cod until the end of the year, the Flemish Fisheries department announced on Tuesday. Fishermen will still be able to fish for other species, but they will not be allowed to have cod in their nets.

The measure will come into force at midnight on Wednesday and will last until 1 January. Fisheries are bound by quotas per sea and per species: only a certain number of fish can be caught in certain areas of the sea. These quotas are negotiated annually at European level. For cod in the North Sea, an increase of 12 per cent has been negotiated for 2024 compared to this year. This is because the species is doing well in the North Sea.

"There are more cod and our fishermen are now noticing it. So much so that the current quota for this year has already been reached. Once the quota for a species is used up, it can no longer be fished there," says Fisheries minister Hilde Crevits.

Not only can fishermen no longer fish for cod, but even if they fish for other species and have cod in their nets, it is a problem. "This has a big impact on our fishermen, including those who fish for shrimp and squid," says Crevits. An exception has been made for shrimp fishermen in the southern North Sea.



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