We administer closures in the Eastern Channel and North Sea south of (approximately) 56 degrees north, and Marine Scotland administer closures north of this.
Cod recovery zones (CRZ)
North Sea (ICES IVb,c) and Eastern Channel (ICES VIId)
In 2008 a system of real time closures (RTCs) was introduced in the North Sea and Eastern Channel to support the aims of the cod recovery plan by reducing cod mortality through the reduction of juvenile discards and by avoiding spawning aggregations of mature fish. The UK must provide evidence to the European Council of our efforts to reduce cod mortality.
Areas of high cod abundance are identified by live sampling at sea or by calculating the highest catch rates per area based on historical data classified as landings per unit effort (LPUE). Both of these methods are used to close areas to fishing effort by instigating a RTC.
In consultation with scientists and industry representatives, a number of seasonal closures have also been introduced in recognised spawning areas. In 2011, two seasonal closures have been identified to protect cod spawning grounds from 1 January to 30 April 2011.
English administered vessels using regulated gears in the CRZ are subject to the cod recovery plan Days at Sea Scheme, which we administer, and they receive an enhanced basic effort allocation in recognition of the RTC scheme. A UK vessel found fishing within a RTC or seasonal closure using regulated gears may be subject to appropriate enforcement action, which may include criminal prosecution.
Prohibited gears in RTCs and seasonal closures
- TR1, TR2, TR3 – demersal trawls and seines.
- BT1, BT2 – beam trawls.
- GN and GT – gill and trammel nets.
- LL – long lines.
For mesh size applicable to gear type, please see Days at Sea Scheme.
Permitted gears in RTCs and seasonal closures
- Scallop dredges, pots, pelagic gears, drift nets and purse seines.
UK under 10 metre vessels and other member states’ vessels using regulated gears are requested and encouraged to abide by the closures, however it is not compulsory for them.
Operations and Enforcement
Marine Management Organisation
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 376 2647
Fax: 0191 376 2501
Read the real time closures flowchart (PDF 23 KB) to see explanations of each of the four types of real time closure including:
- trigger levels
- sample sizes
- duration of closure
- size of closure.
This document is in the portable document format (PDF) for downloading. Adobe Acrobat Reader can be freely downloaded from www.adobe.com/uk/