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The BBC's Angus Roxburgh
"In the Irish Sea cod fishing is effectively banned"
 real 28k

The BBC's Robert Pigott
"The cod population is becoming smaller and younger"
 real 28k

Angus Roxburgh
"The cuts will have a severe effect on fishing communities throughout the EU"
 real 28k

Friday, 17 December, 1999, 11:52 GMT
EU fish quota slashed

European fishermen are facing some of the most drastic cuts in fishing quotas for a decade.

British and Irish fishermen are expected to be hard hit because of the slump in stocks of white fish in the Irish Sea.

Fishing quota cuts
Irish Sea cod down 62%
North Sea cod down 39%
North Sea whiting down 32%
North Sea saithe down 23%
North Sea haddock down 18%
EU fisheries ministers announced drastic cuts in the number of fish which can be caught in the next 12 months following 17 hours of talks which ended in the early hours of Friday morning.

Worst hit is Irish Sea cod with the catch falling by nearly two-thirds, while other cuts severely affect North Sea catches.

Permitted cod and whiting catches off the West of Scotland are also to drop by about one-third.

French fisheries and agriculture minister Jean Glavany - fresh from bruising encounters with Britain over beef - stormed out before the end of the meeting when he was denied a bigger anchovy quota.

The moves have met with equal hostility among Britain's fishing commuity.

Job losses

Elizabeth Stevenson of the Cornish Fish Producers' Organisation said the cuts would lead to job losses in 2000.

"I think we will see people leaving the industry more and more. Vessels will have to be sold.

We must put in place the management and conservation measures which will restore stocks
UK Fisheries Minister Elliott Morley
"It's just no longer viable or even possible to earn a living and pay your bills as a fisherman or as a boat owner," she added.

The UK Fisheries Minister, Elliott Morley, said: "We have to break the damaging cycle of falling stocks and reduced quotas.

'Best deal possible'

Mr Morley said the UK had won "the best deal possible" (see link to additional story in the right hand column).

"What we must do is put in place the management and conservation measures which will restore stocks."

But he added that the measures were necessary because scientific advice indicated some of the country's most important fish stocks were in poor shape.

Representatives from the Northern Ireland fishing industry said the limits could cost them 7m.

In Spain, the deal was welcomed by both officials and fishermen's representatives.

According to Spanish national radio, Jose Alvarez Gancedo, fisheries minister in the anchovy fishing area of Cantabria, congratulated the Spanish delegation for their efforts in the talks.

And Cantabria fisheries associations' president Tomas Cos added: "We welcome the fact that during the spring season we can fish normally, like any other year, with the quota we have had in previous years."

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See also:
17 Dec 99 |  UK
Fishermen's fury at quota cuts
17 Dec 99 |  UK
Fish deal was 'best possible'
16 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Fishermen battle Brussels
24 Aug 99 |  UK
Tuna fishermen fight ban

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