Hogg digs in his heels over fishing cuts

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Britain will not implement any moves approved by the European Union to reduce fish catches unless the problem of foreign quota-hopper trawlers is resolved, Douglas Hogg, Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, said yesterday.

Mr Hogg was responding to the European Fisheries Commissioner, Emma Bonino, who had called for a 40 per cent cut in "fishing effort" by fleets over six years and warned that quota-hoppers could increase unless Britain continued its fleet decommissioning programme, which is behind schedule. But after meeting leaders of the south-west fishing industry in Plymouth, Mr Hogg said the cut would be "very unacceptable" to the Government.

There are 150 UK-registered foreign owned quota-hoppers taking 20 per cent of British quota and pounds 94m worth of fish.