Scientists tracking northern cod stocks off Newfoundland say there are signs of recovery but that any lifting of the 1992 commercial fishing ban is likely 10 years away.

George Rose of Memorial University's Marine Institute in St. John's was among those who predicted any cod rebound would take decades.

He was right.

Rose says recent surveys suggest there are more fish, they're larger and older.

But the population is still a fraction of historic levels and far below what's needed to support extensive commercial fishing.

Rose says cod are trying to recover from a complex blend of overfishing, mismanagement and environmental factors.

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea (SHAY) says Ottawa has tried to help by funding research and monitoring groundfish catches.

Shea says she'll consult researchers and industry before deciding what, if anything, should be done about growing seal populations.

She says scientists have linked grey seals with a lack of cod recovery in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.