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Ministers reach fish deal while stocks last

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Ministers reach fish deal while stocks last

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The European Union’s fisheries ministers have agreed on next year’s catch quotas. Cod, again, was the most important fish fought over. The cod quota for the North Sea was raised by 11 percent. Conservation groups condemned this because stocks are low. But scientists had indicated a slight improvement in North Sea fish numbers. In most other areas the quotas will be set 18 percent lower.

European Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg on Tuesday night had wanted a cut of 25 percent in most cod quotas for 2008. Borg said: “The decision taken tonight will ensure that the fishing pressure put on some commercial stocks by the European fleet continues to decrease. This is necessary to ensure the future of European fisheries.”

According to Greenpeace, European data shows that catches cince 2003 have, on average, been set around 50 per cent above the scientifically recommended level. The ecologist activists this week called for environment ministers to take on the fish quota dossier, seriously questioning the fisheries ministers’ competence.