Accept Refuse

EUR-Lex Access to European Union law

This document is an excerpt from the EUR-Lex website

Summaries of EU Legislation

Recovery of cod stocks

Go to the summaries’ table of contents

SURVEY: Tell us what you think about the summaries!

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation

Recovery of cod stocks

The 2004 cod stock recovery plan did not meet its objective. In view of this, the Council has adopted a new plan aimed at making up for the shortcomings in the previous plan. The measures that have been adopted plan for a limitation of the proportion of stock taken by fishermen and a simplification of the management system for the fishing effort.


Council Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 of 18 December 2008 establishing a long-term plan for cod stocks and the fisheries exploiting those stocks and repealing Regulation (EC) No 423/2004 [See amending act(s)].


The long-term plan for the recovery of cod stocks should ensure the sustainable exploitation of cod resources on the basis of maximum sustainable yield.

Geographical areas

The recovery plan applies to the following geographical areas:

  • the Kattegat;
  • the North Sea, the Skagerrak and the eastern Channel;
  • the west of Scotland;
  • the Irish Sea.

Total allowable catch (TAC)

The Council will determine the TAC each year for the following year, for each of the cod stocks in the areas set out. The TAC is set according to the optimal fishing rate in order to guarantee the maximum sustainable catch. Under the new recovery plan, the TAC will no longer be set according to levels of biomass (quantity of fish in the sea). It will be calculated after subtracting the quantity of discards of cod and the quantity corresponding to other sources of fishing mortality.

Fishing mortality will be reduced from one year to the next, by 25 %, 15 % or 10 % according to the condition of the stocks, until the mortality rate reaches 0.4.

If the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) does not have sufficient information on the condition of stocks, the plan provides for:

  • a reduction in fishing mortality of 25 % where scientific opinion recommends a reduction in catches at the lowest level possible;
  • a reduction in fishing mortality of 15 % in other cases.

Limiting the fishing effort

This Regulation introduces a new management system for the fishing effort which fixes thresholds (expressed in kilowatt-days) per group of vessels or fleet segment *, taking into account the fishing gear and meshes used. The management of these thresholds shall be carried out by Member States. The latter shall take the appropriate measures to guarantee that the effort does not exceed the forecasted limits.

The Regulation includes an innovation. Member States may allow additional fishing effort rates for some vessels that follow best practices in order to reduce their cod catches. This measure will encourage, amongst other things, the use of more selective trawls and compliance with boxes targeting spawning areas. Nevertheless, fishing efforts should not increase.

Member States are authorised to transfer fishing effort and capacity between geographical areas and between effort groups *.

Designated ports

Landings of over two tonnes of cod are authorised only in the designated ports. Member States shall designate these ports and set inspection and surveillance procedures relating thereto, including the conditions for recording and reporting the quantities of cod landed.


This Regulation is based on the opinions of the interested parties, who met on the occasion of the conference on the recovery of cod stocks in March 2007.

The Commission will evaluate the impact of management measures on cod stocks and the fisheries concerned at the latest during the third year of application of this Regulation and then every three years. Where appropriate, the Commission may propose relevant measures to amend the Regulation based on opinions provided by the STECF and having consulted the relevant Regional Advisory Council.

Key terms of the Act

  • Fleet segment: a group of vessels belonging to the same length class (overall length) and having the same main fishing gear throughout the year. Vessels may carry out different fishing activities during the reference period but may only be classed in one fleet segment.
  • Effort group: a management unit of a Member State for which a maximum allowable fishing effort is set. It is defined by a gear grouping and a geographical area.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) 1342/2008



L 348, 24.12.2008

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009



L 343, 22.12.2009

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1342/2008 have been incorporated in to the original text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.


Council Regulation (EU) No 57/2011 of 18 January 2011 fixing for 2011 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in EU waters and, for EU vessels, in certain non-EU waters.

Last updated: 11.04.2011