Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:29 UK

EU set for fish quota bargaining

By Chris Mason
BBC News, Brussels

The condition of some fish stocks is hotly disputed

The annual round of haggling over how much fish European trawlers can catch has begun in Brussels.

Documents from the European Commission - the EU executive - claim that more than 80% of EU fish stocks are now overfished. The global average is 28%.

But scientists are unaware of the state of nearly two-thirds of Europe's fish stocks. Officials blame that on inaccurate reporting of catches.

Ministers, fleets and environmentalists now face lengthy negotiations.

The EU's Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, said "the situation created by overfishing is serious" but added that some stocks are showing signs of recovery.

Negotiators have until the end of July to set out their views on how best to manage European fish stocks next year.

The quotas for 2010 will finally be agreed - as usual - at a summit here in December.

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MEP Seats

  Votes MEPs
Party % +/- % Total +/-
EPP 33.4 -1.4 264 -18
Socialists 23.2 -4.1 183 -26
Liberal 11.0 +1.6 84 +5
Green 7.4 +1.3 50 +9
Left 5.3 -0.6 34 -2
UEN 3.4 +1.6 28 +2
Ind/Dem 2.7 -1.8 21 -15
No Group 13.6 +3.4 72 +3.4
0 of 27 countries declared.

UK Total MEP Seats

Party Votes MEPs
% +/- % Total +/-
CON 27.7 1.0 *26 1
UKIP 16.5 0.3 13 1
LAB 15.7 -6.9 13 -5
LD 13.7 -1.2 11 1
GRN 8.6 2.4 2 0
BNP 6.2 1.3 2 2
SNP 2.1 0.7 2 0
PC 0.8 -0.1 1 0
OTH 8.5 2.4 0 0
SF 1 0
DUP 1 0
72 of 72 seats declared. Vote share figures exclude Northern Ireland as it has a separate electoral system to the rest of the UK
* Includes UCUNF MEP elected in Northern Ireland
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