The EU fisheries ministers are close to an agreement on granting a stay of execution for the prized bluefin tuna, which is increasingly threatened with overfishing.
A big international meeting is coming up next month, and France has made clear Europe will insist on an equal effort from all the participants.
At talks in Luxembourg France said respect of commitments on pulling fewer blulefin out of the sea and tighter controls would be expected of all the countries involved.
But ecology group Greenpeace poured scorn on this: It said the French, Italian and Spanish ministers had shown themselves incapable of keeping illegal fishing under control. Greenpeace said only a suspension of fishing could save the bluefin.
The European Commission has also called for quota cuts to protect exotic deepwater species that grow and reproduce more slowly than those in shallower waters and so are even more vulnerable to overfishing. With commercial cod and hake catches increasingly curtailed, the net has begun to close on their deepwater cousins.