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Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
EU scientists urge cod blanket ban
Swedish fishing boats
A complete ban on cod fishing could come into force

The most drastic cutbacks ever in fishing in the North Sea - including a total ban on cod fishing - are being recommended by European Union scientists.


I certainly accept that this is one of the most serious scientific reports on the state of the fishing industry that anyone has seen for a very long time

UK Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley
The European Commission is expected to base next year's quotas on the advice, which could mean the loss of thousands of jobs in the fishing industry.

The scientists rarely bring good news for fishermen these days, but this year's report - due out officially on Friday - is devastating.

It is expected to recommend not just a total ban on cod fishing in the North and Irish Seas, but also on other fisheries - haddock, whiting and scampi, which accidentally catch cod in their nets.

The report will be considered in the coming weeks by the European Commission, which is likely to accept the recommendations to save the cod from extinction.

Then, in December, fisheries ministers from the 15 EU countries will meet to haggle over precise quotas and that could be the last chance to save thousands of livelihoods that depend on the white fish industry.

Fishermen's leaders will lobby intensively for less severe cutbacks.

But the UK's Fisheries Minister, Elliot Morley, warned on Wednesday that firm action was required which could, as he put it with considerable understatement, cause difficulties for the fishing industry.

See also:

23 Oct 02 | Scotland
15 Oct 02 | Scotland
28 May 02 | Scotland
28 May 02 | Europe
24 May 02 | UK
01 May 02 | Science/Nature
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