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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 18:12 GMT
Reactions to EU fish quota deal
A deal reached by European Union ministers to regulate permitted fish catches in 2007, including cuts in cod quotas, has provoked strong reactions on all sides.

DOMINQUE BUSSEREAU, FRENCH AGRICULTURE MINISTER

It is a fair and acceptable agreement. By that I mean that everyone has made compromises.

France, for example, will be able to catch more of some types of fish - I'm thinking of monkfish, Norway lobster and sole - and a little less of other types, but much more than envisaged by the European Commission.

So we have gained a lot. And we have reached a balanced agreement on cod and anchovies.

DR TOM PICKERELL, FISHERIES OFFICER, WWF-UK

The scientists must wonder why they bother with their surveys.

It amazes me that world-class survey results are treated with such disdain, while anecdotal views from those with vested interests in maintaining quotas are often given credence. We will now need a miracle to save cod.

Bycatch and discards are not a new problem and selective gear is widely available, but the real problem is a lack of political will to implement a real solution that will secure cod stocks for the future.

The bottom line for cod recovery is how many fish are being removed, including as a bycatch, from the sea and without measures to reduce this, any cuts in effort and quotas will be meaningless and only result in yet higher levels of healthy cod being thrown away.

BERTIE ARMSTRONG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, SCOTTISH FISHERMEN'S FEDERATION

There will be some anger in elements of the fishing fleet that are affected by the decision to reduce days at sea.

Undeniably, the opportunity to catch fish with regard to quotas was broadly satisfactory.

However, for the white fish and prawn section, the crucial element is days at sea. There is no point in having quotas if we are physically incapacitated in the days we can catch it.

PROFESSOR DAVID READ, VICE-PRESIDENT, ROYAL SOCIETY (UK)

Yet again we have seen scientific advice on cod quotas being compromised by political decisions.

Given the already alarming condition of stocks, European fisheries ministers should be clear that they may be presiding over the total collapse of cod in the Atlantic.

And if this does happen, we can't be sure that there is any possibility of recovery.

DR EUAN DUNN, HEAD OF MARINE POLICY, RSPB

With the cod stock close to collapse, this decision makes a mockery of the scientific advice and is a case of fiddling while Rome burns.

This deal condemns the collapsed cod stock to continue bumping along the bottom instead of encouraging its recovery, which is so vital to the long-term prosperity of the industry and the North Sea ecosystem.

BEN BRADSHAW, UK FISHERIES MINISTER

It's a good deal and it balances environmental responsibility with maximising fishing opportunities for fishermen where the science justifies it.

RICARDO ALGUILAR, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, OCEANA EUROPE

It's incredible and incomprehensible how ministers continue to play politics when our fish stocks are in serious trouble.

I was appalled when I saw the list of agreed quotas. Only last month an important scientific study outlined how fish stocks risk global collapse if fisheries continue to be managed as they are now.

How can ministers continue to ignore this - do they really want to be responsible for future generations living in a world of empty oceans?"

ROSS FINNIE, SCOTTISH FISHERIES MINISTER

As always, the settlement needs to be read as a whole, and I am satisfied that in these difficult negotiating circumstances we have secured the best possible deal for Scottish fisheries.

RICHARD LOCHHEAD, FISHERIES SPOKESMAN, SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY

It is utter lunacy to provide the Scots fleet with a fishing quota but then take away even more of the days needed to catch it.

DICK JAMES, FISH PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION, NORTHERN IRELAND

It's very difficult to see a white fish fleet surviving through next year.

DR BRYCE BEUKERS-STEWART, FISHERIES POLICY OFFICER, MARINE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

It is astounding that the EU continues to persist with this doomed approach to fisheries management.

These marginal adjustments to the quotas for cod around the UK have been going on for at least the last 20 years, but the fish stocks themselves are going down much faster.

This is hardly surprising, as the quotas still allow for at least 60% of the fish to be removed each year - what chance does that give for recovery?

What is needed is a much more creative and proactive approach to improving the selectivity of fishing gear and practices to reduce the bycatch of unwanted or under-fire species such as cod.


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