Page last updated at 21:56 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 22:56 UK

'Delight' at EU fish quota moves


'Environmentalists and fishermen have argued against the current system

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation has said it is delighted with European Union moves to scrap current rules which decide fishing quotas.

A meeting of European fisheries ministers in Brussels concluded with a consensus for a new Common Fisheries Policy to be radically decentralised.

This would give more power to member states and to the fishing industry.

Bertie Armstrong of the SFF said the present framework did not work and needed to be decentralised.

Environmentalists and fishermen alike have long argued the existing system - set annually - has failed the industry.

Fish caught over quota are dumped back in the sea even if dead, and in the UK alone numbers of fishermen have fallen by a third over the decade.

The European Union has until 2012 to draw up a new Common Fisheries Policy.

Mr Armstrong said: "We've proved beyond all reasonable doubt that the present framework - which is tightly-controlled by the Commission - isn't working at all and needs to be decentralised.

"The outcome of this council seems to be that that's been accepted by all. We weren't absolutely sure that the Commission would be ready to let go and decentralise, but certainly that seems to be the theme. And that's highly welcome."

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