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The BBC's Jane O'Brien
"The EU wants to scrap 800 British fishing vessels"
 real 28k

Elliot Morely, UK Fisheries Minister
"The Commission hasn't taken into account what we have done in Britain"
 real 28k

Jim Portus, Fish Producers Association
"Not the case that fish stocks are being destroyed"
 real 28k

Friday, 16 June, 2000, 08:55 GMT 09:55 UK
Euro fish plans 'threaten' UK fleet
Fishermen at sea
The UK opposes any further cuts to the fishing fleet
Up to 10% of the UK's fishing fleet could go out of business within two years if plans being outlined by the European Commission are accepted.

The proposals are aimed at protecting dwindling fishing stocks but could mean the loss of over 800 UK boats and at least 3,000 jobs.

Let us regain control of our own water

Dave Tynn
Devon fisherman
The UK's fleet is already 3,000 vessels fewer than eight years ago and the new cuts, if implemented, would see up to 2,000 jobs lost in the south-west and another 1,000 in Scotland.

The UK Government will oppose any further cuts and would prefer to limit the length of time vessels spend at sea.

Fisheries Minister Elliot Morley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he would seek support from other nations for the UK's position.

'Unjustified cuts'

"We don't think that the cuts being proposed by the commission are justified by the figures," he said.

"We don't think the commission are taking into account what we have done in the UK to reduce the capacity of the fleet."

For every job lost at sea, it is estimated that another four disappear on shore.

The latest European Commission proposals have angered a UK fishing industry already coping with quota cuts, increased fuel costs and the expensive satellite tracking equipment demanded by the government to keep track of vessels at sea.

'Island nation'

John Sanders, of the Brixham Trawler Owners' Association in Devon, told BBC One's Breakfast News: "We are an island nation and are surrounded by water.

"It's our heritage and we will always go fishing but places like Brixham and small fishing communities that depend on the fishing industry will be very hard hit indeed."

There is anger that other EU countries, like Spain and Italy, are being told to cut far less of their fleet than the UK.

David Tynn, of Brixham Trawlers' Agency, told the BBC: "I believe the answer is to let us regain control of our own waters and let it all be run from Westminster with our Westminster politicians.

"At the moment, they are all puppets and it's Europe that's pulling their strings."

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17 Dec 99 | Europe
EU fish quota slashed
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