Fisheries ministers from the European Union’s member states have struck a deal on fish quotas for 2013 after three days of talks that ended in the early hours of this morning (20 December).
The European Commission had proposed a sharp reduction in quotas for several thousand species in the Atlantic but several ministers said that this was not backed by scientific evidence.
Environmental groups had pushed for strict quotas but the fishing industry said that cuts were not necessary because cod stocks had greatly increased.
The extent of reductions in quotas for many species has been scaled back from the Commission’s proposals while the amount of some species of white fish allowed to be caught in the English Channel, the Irish Sea and off the west coast of Scotland has increased slightly.
The Commission also did not win backing for plans to cut the number of permitted fishing days by a quarter. They will remain at 2012 levels. Ministers failed to reach agreement on the amount of cod that can be caught. This issue is likely to be resolved when the EU holds talks with Norway next month.
The Commission’s controversial proposal included an 80% reduction for common sole in the Irish Sea, a 50% cut for Atlantic haddock and a 40% cut for megrim off the north-west coast of Scotland.
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