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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 10:32 GMT
EU reaches deal on fishing quotas
File photograph of cod and haddock
Fishermen say current restrictions are decimating their industry
European Union fisheries ministers are to allow fishermen to catch more cod in the North Sea, against the recommendations of environmentalists.

The quota for North Sea cod was increased by 11% under a deal reached after a marathon night of negotiations on fishing quotas for 2008.

In other sectors, quotas for cod were reduced, but not by the 25% urged by the European Commission.

However, there will be a cut in the number of days fishermen spend at sea.

They argue current restrictions are already decimating their industry.

'No return'

Details of the deal are still emerging, but ministers said measures to be taken would include moves to reduce catches of unwanted fish.

Greenpeace protest outside EU fishing quotas meeting
Environmentalists had called for 50% cuts in cod quotas

"With hard work, we have managed to keep to the policy of sustainability," said Portuguese Agriculture Minister Jaime Silva, who chaired the meeting.

UK Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw said the agreement "acknowledges efforts by our fishermen to find new ways to safeguard stocks".

However, Greenpeace EU spokeswoman Saskia Richartz said the decision "continues a three-decade long trend of ministerial incompetence that is dragging Europe's seas towards a point of no return".

The World Wildlife Fund also warned that Europe could not afford to repeat the mistakes of the past by fishing more North Sea cod just because of what it saw as the early signs of recovery.

SEE ALSO
Trawlers face further quota cuts
28 Nov 07 |  Science/Nature
'Slight recovery' for cod stocks
19 Oct 07 |  Science/Nature
Minister criticised on cod quotas
20 Nov 07 |  Science/Nature

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