Pacific cod.

Pacific cod. Andy Murch photo.

Fish Radio
Cod catches increase, fish are smaller
October 4, 2012

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — Catches of the world’s most popular fish are set to increase. More after this –

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Call it gray cod, true cod or just cod fish – it’s arguably the most popular fish in the world. And catches are set to increase as stocks rebound around the world.   
 Alaska boasts one of the biggest and most robust cod fisheries – combined harvests from the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska next year could see slight increases to 331,000 metric tons or nearly 730 million pounds.    
But that pales in comparison to the amount of cod fish coming out of the Barents Sea that straddles Norway and Russia. 
Cod stocks there are considered the largest in the world and next year’s quota could top 900-thousand tons, or a whopping 2 billion pounds. Adding to that will be another 56 million pounds from the North Sea, where cod stocks have been on an upward swing for six years.
The increasing numbers of cod fish from the Barents and North Sea have pulled Europe from Alaska’s fish market and put a downward press on dock  prices to between 32-35 cents a pound, down about a dime.  Alaska fishermen get a double whammy because most of the cod they’re pulling aboard are smaller sized. European fishermen have the same complaint.  
Researchers say the cod could get even smaller because of rising sea temperatures.   University of British Columbia fish scientists studied 600 species of fish across the world’s oceans. Using computer modeling, they   concluded that fish sizes could shrink by 14 to 24 per cent over the next 40 years.   As water warms, cold-blooded fish will see an increase in body temperature, which speeds up their metabolism.  So even though the demand for oxygen increases as fish grow, their ability to get it slows down and affects their growth.   Smaller or not, the North Pacific Council will review next year’s catch limits at its meeting going on now in Anchorage.
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