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BBC Scotland's Christine Jardine
"Fishing leaders and environmentalists have agreed on the measures"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 March, 2000, 07:03 GMT
Historic fisheries pact clinched
boats
Fishermen continue to face quota cuts
An agreement by Scotland's fishing leaders and a conservation organisation to preserve fish stocks has been hailed as historic.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature and the Scottish Fishermen's Federation made the pact in Edinburgh at the weekend.

The two groups got together to fight what they saw as Europe's "mismanagement" of fish stocks.

The united front was called "historic" by Scottish Fisheries Minister John Home Robertson when he spoke to a fringe meeting at the Scottish Labour Party Conference.

Managed fish zones

Details of the agreement are contained in a document entitled "Towards a Sustainable Future".

It calls for fishing zones to be managed by local committees, rather than Europe, and envisages temporary closure of some grounds, to protect spawning and nursery areas, as well as using more selective fishing gear.

Mr Home Robertson said some people might have thought fishermen and environmentalists are strange bedfellows, but he said their interests did "converge".

Cod
Cod is especially threatened
SFF chief executive Hamish Morrison said it was clear that a fisheries management system designed for six countries could no longer work for an enlarged European community.

And he said he was convinced that "fundamental reform" of the Common Fisheries Policy was "no longer the call of the few but the call of the many".

WWF Scottish director Dr Simon Pepper said the organisation was not seeking to tell fishermen what to do but to lend support towards the creation of a sustainable fishing industry which would be good for both the environment and the economy.

At the end of last year, the SFF acknowledged that something needed to be done in order to preserve the fishing industry and renew fish stocks.

Fishermen were warned by Europe to expect further cuts in catch quotas in an attempt to protect dwindling stocks.

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16 Dec 99 | Scotland
Fishing quotas facing more cuts
14 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Fears over fishing cuts
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