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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 01:22 GMT 02:22 UK
EU 'unfair to UK fishing crews'
Bluefin tuna
France fishes well over its tuna quota, Mr Bradshaw says
Britain is being unfairly treated by the European Commission over fishing rights, UK officials claim.

UK ministers are expected to raise the issue at an Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg.

Fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw says the commission has failed to penalise France for catching too much bluefin tuna - an endangered species.

But he said British and Irish crews had been punished for overfishing mackerel and herring, which are less threatened.

Mr Bradshaw said French crews fished almost 40% more tuna than their quota in 2005, and nearly 30% more in 2006.


Despite this, the commission not only waived EU penalties, it also negotiated an international amnesty.

But UK and Irish boats who went over their herring and mackerel quotas were not so favoured, he said.

They have been made subject to reduced quotas over the next five years to "pay back" the extra fish they caught.

Mr Bradshaw says such inconsistency sets a dangerous precedent.

At the Luxembourg meeting the commission is expected to announce new regulations to clamp down on illegal and unreported fishing.

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