Figure 2 shows the historic landings of the eastern Baltic cod stock during the period from 1966 to 2018 broken down by country, with a peak of almost 400 000 tonnes of eastern Baltic cod landed in 1984. Eastern cod ﬁsheries are dominated by Poland, Denmark and Sweden, but Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia also land substantial catches, while lower amounts are landed by Estonia and Finland. The graph also shows the spawning stock biomass (SSB, blue line) and the biomass of commercially sized cod (above the conservation reference size of 35cm, red line), both of which were at their highest levels in 1980. The strong drop in biomass since the second half of the1980s relates to a number of factors such as lower levels of saline inflows from the North Sea and related poor oxygen conditions, grey seal recovery, and overfishing. Poor oxygen conditions are also worsened by the effects of high eutrophication (the rise in nutrients boosts algae growth eventually leading to a high consumption of oxygen and so-called ‘dead zones’). Since the 1990s, the SSB has fluctuated at a lower level. The previous 2007 multiannual plan for cod has been evaluated as effective in the case of the eastern Baltic stock and contributed to a decrease in fishing mortality and an increase in biomass (with a modest SSB peak in 2010 and estimated catches below FMSY). Since 2016, fishing opportunities have been set on the basis of the Baltic MAP and in the case of eastern Baltic cod this means applying the precautionary approach. Although catches have been further reduced, the biomass has declined and the stock is in a very poor state.
Eastern cod landings by country (1965-2018, in tonnes), including the stock size in terms of spawning stock biomass (SSB) and biomass of commercially sized fish (over 35 cm)
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