Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 17 December, 1999, 05:00 GMT
Analysis: Fishermen battle Brussels

Fishermen Fishermen want a gradual reduction in quotas


By Europe correspondent Justin Webb

The cuts to fishing quotas announced by the European Commission are huge.

Fishermen's representatives claim they will devastate fishing communities, but the scientists say there is no alternative.

There are two fundamental reasons for the drastic action.

The first is simply that too many fish have been taken from the sea in the past.

Previous attempts to prevent overfishing have always been watered down and the result has been that stocks have continued to fall.

The second reason is environmental: sudden changes in the climate - possibly brought on by global warming - have made it more difficult for some fish to reproduce in large enough numbers.

So an already-grave situation has been made worse.

The fishermen gathered in Brussels accept fully that stocks must be conserved but they say a phased approach is needed, with smaller cuts in the early years.

Battle lines drawn

So who will win, and what is the position of the governments gathered around the table in Brussels?

The answer, broadly, is that those nations with a strong fishing industry will fight hardest to keep the quotas relatively high.

So the Irish and British will dig in their heels on the subject of cod, where it is proposed that a 70% reduction be achieved in the Irish Sea.

That basically means the only cod catch allowed would be fish caught accidentally in nets intended to trap other species.

The Spanish will also do battle on behalf of their fishing folk - and the Spanish are known as tough fighters when their interests are at stake.

The result, as ever, will be a compromise. Everyone will criticise the deal, except presumably those who make it, and they will all be back again next year to have another go.

The danger is that one year the ministers will turn up and the scientists will tell them to go home. With no more fish in the sea there will be nothing to talk about.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Europe Contents

Country profiles

See also:
16 Dec 99 |  Europe
Fishing industry faces catch cuts
12 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Fishermen's anger at moves to cut quotas
24 Aug 99 |  UK
Tuna fishermen fight ban

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories