Catches of the popular fish in have fallen significantly in Swedish waters over the past few years.
Max Cardinale, a researcher at the Swedish Board of Fisheries (Fiskeriverket) called the findings “very worrying.”
The new advice came in a report delivered on Sunday by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The most worrying aspect of the report from a Swedish point of view was the fact that herring and whiting had produced few young in recent years in the North Sea, Skagerakk and Kattegat.
“We do not know why this is, we are simply observing that there is a real shortage of small fish. There will need to be a pretty major reduction in catches,” Cardinale said.
A cut in fishing would help the situation, stated Cardinale, who is Sweden’s representative on ICES’ fisheries management committee.
“We are in a fairly good situation and can achieve a reasonably positive result pretty quickly,” he added.
ICES is recommending a reduction of 40 percent in catches in the North Sea, Kattegat and Skagerakk.
“We hope that the European Commission will listen and see that one must adapt to the resources that exist. They are not infinite,” said Cardinale.
Cod stocks remain low, and ICES proposes a new ban on fishing for the species in Kattegatt and the eastern Baltic.
“It is just about as bad as it has been for the past five or six years. Far too few new fish are being produced and overfishing is still occurring,” said Cardinale.