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Europe's fishermen face smaller cuts in their catches next year

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Europe's fishermen face smaller cuts in their catches next year

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In its 2006 plan for fish quotas, the European Commission has recommended less drastic reductions than in previous years.

Cod is said to be in a slightly better state but vessels are still picking up too much by accident.

Cuts of up to 15 percent have been proposed for the 2006 cod catch depending on the area;

They were raised for the Baltic, where seasonal fishery closures are already in force.

A two-month closure is planned for Celtic Sea cod fishing.

Certain trawlers catching Norway lobster and plaice will be allowed fewer days at sea.

The other main fisheries closure the EU plans is for anchovy in the Bay of Biscay, off the North Atlantic coasts of France and Spain.

The fishing ban there will run at least until June to give numbers a chance to recover.

The fisheries ministers will debate the latest plan at their December council meeting.