New cod war of words: 'Cod is God' versus 'sod the cod'—Two opposed discourses on the North Sea Cod Recovery Programme

Tim Gray, Jenny Hatchard, Tim Daw, Selina Stead

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New insights into the North Sea Cod Recovery Programme (CRP), initiated in 2003 by the European Commission to reverse the long-term decline in cod stocks, are presented using discourse analysis. The main conservation measures taken under the CRP have been to reduce catch limits drastically and to increase control over vessels' fishing activities. There has been considerable controversy over the programme from its inception, with protagonists broadly divided into two discourses: (1) 'cod is God'-in which cod has assumed the status of the defining test of the European Union's (EU) resolve to manage fish stocks sustainably in EU waters; (2) 'sod the cod'-in which cod is regarded as one of a number of target commercial fish species, with no special status. Drawing on Frank Fischer's distinction between hegemonic and challenging discourses, we analyse the conflict between them at three levels: empirical; conceptual; and political. We consider moves to reconcile the two discourses in a policy consensus on a revised CRP, which suggest that the challenging discourse (sod-the-cod) has had some success in modifying the impact of the hegemonic discourse (cod-is-God)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

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