Fishermen have reported that cod has reappeared in shallow water, close to the cost. Scientists partly agree on that, but say that there is no cod on the banks in deep water...
I was many times out at the Flemish Cap 1995-2002 doing shrimp research. I never saw a cod, not even fingerlings as by-catch. On our trips to and from the Flemish Cap we did not see cod shoals on the fish finder. Last 2-3 years the captains report ever increasing cod marks as they pass the GB.
On one occasion, in March 2006, a lot of cod was caught in a shrimp trawl at the Flemish Cap. There are sorting grids and opening to let large fish escape. This time the trawl had become twisted, and up came big cod and redfish, a lot of them (picture below).So they are out there, quantity unknown.
I spoke to a factory manager on a foreign trawler, allowed to catch Greenland halibut at the Grand Banks the summer of 2005. He said that there was cod everywhere, they had great difficulties because if they get by-catches of cod, they have to move at least 5 miles. They were constantly moving all over the Bank, sometimes getting big hauls they had to release. And they were big fine fish he said.
There is cod out there the manager told me, but nobody is fishing there - for cod, and the scientists don't find the cod in their random assessment fishery.
Or maybe it is better to keep it a secret, for political and scientific reasons?
Pictures taken on board a trawler, fishing at St’Pierre bank in February 2004 show good hauls of big cod.