A Norwegian study says that the numbers of fish in the North Sea and further afield has increased by as much as 104 percent.
Since the turn of the millennium when fish stocks were reportedly at an all time low, Norwegian scientists claim that cod numbers in the North and Barents Seas, as well as near Iberia, have increased by between 71 and 104 percent.
The north-eastern Atlantic fish study was carried out from 2007 to 2015 by Fabian Zimmermann of the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and Karl Michael Werner from the Thunen Institute of Sea Fisheries in Germany.
Zimmerman and Werner published their findings the science journal ‘Frontiers in Ecology and Environment’.
The marine researchers looked at the development of 85 fish stocks between 1960 and 2015.
Zimmermann said: “What surprises us is how quickly stocks can be rebuilt. If you look at all the fish stocks, the average lowest level was around the year 2000. Since then, most stocks have clearly recovered again.
“This includes all the stocks that the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) recommends quotas for.
“Our study covers an area from the Iberian Coast in the south via the Norwegian Sea to the Barents Sea in the north. This includes several species of important economic significance, such as herring, cod and mackerel.”
“Our results show that sustainable harvesting of wild fish stocks is possible, but only when fishery policies are adequate, science-based and adhere to the precautionary principle.”
However, Zimmerman and Werner warned that although the fish numbers are healthy, rising sea temperatures have caused some species to migrate north and adapt to life in colder waters.