Strehlow, H. V., Schultz, N., Zimmermann, C., and Hammer, C. 2012. Cod catches taken by the German recreational fishery in the western Baltic Sea, 2005–2010: implications for stock assessment and management. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 1769–1780. Next to the commercial fishery, the recreational fishery plays an important role in the removal of biomass from fish stocks. In this study, we present estimates of German recreational cod ( Gadus morhua ) catches in the western Baltic Sea between 2005 and 2010. Fishing effort was estimated using a stratified mail survey and annual sales of fishing licences. Catch per unit effort was estimated by stratified random sampling of access points and interviews about completed trips. Length distributions of cod catches were acquired by sampling recreational cod catches from charter boats and data from community fishing events. Estimates of the total cod biomass removed by the recreational fishery fluctuated between 2159 t in 2009 and 4127 t in 2005. Annual recreational fishery cod harvests accounted for a significant share of the total landings, with a yearly variation from 34 to 70% of the German commercial cod landings from the western Baltic Sea. The majority of recreational fishery cod catches were taken from private boats and charter vessels. Because of the amount and specifically the variability of the recreational catches, they are important for the assessment and management of the resource and, therefore, need to be surveyed annually.