§ Mr. Paterson
: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average cod by-catch recorded from Scottish vessels fishing in ICES (a) IVa and (b)IVb areas was during 2003. 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
: There is no significant by-catch of cod known in the trawl fisheries targeting pelagic species like herring in the North Sea, but between 3.5 per cent. and 7 per cent. of all U K cod landings from the North Sea are taken from the Haden fishing grounds, where the fishery predominantly targets Nephrops (prawns).
However, the by-catch of cod varies between different fisheries: there is no meaningful fleet or area average. A further complication is that catch composition may differ from recorded landings because of discarding at sea for example: catch composition is only observed in a sample of fishing trips.