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Fisheries deal in rough Baltic

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Fisheries deal in rough Baltic

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The EU’s fisheries ministers have been meeting in Luxembourg to set next year’s quotas. Fisheries Commissioner Jo Borg coordinated an agreement on 2008 Baltic cod quotas between five and 28 percent lower than last year. This is accompanied by a reduction in the number of days vessels may spend at sea, because stocks are considered so low.

Cod in the Baltic Sea has been one of the biggest sources of conflict. Brussels accuses the Poles of exceeding EU limits and lying about how much they bring ashore.

French minister Michel Barnier, however, cast doubt on the data supplied by the Commission’s experts. He said he would be taking a close look at how the information is gathered, because he has heard so many complaints from fishermen. On the other hand, France also promised it would punish those responsible for overfishing vulnerable bluefin tuna this year. Other member states also complained about Italian abuse of tuna quotas.