After 17 hours of negotiations in Brussels, Eliot Morley, Fisheries Minister, won agreement for a deal he estimated was worth pounds 30m more for Britain's fishing industry than the European Commission's proposal.
However, Mr Morley did accept swingeing cuts in big quotas, including those for herring off the west coast of Scotland and haddock in the North Sea.
In both those cases Britain agreed with the commission's scientific advice that the reductions were vital to conserve fish stocks for future years. However, there was no attempt to disguise the fact that the quotas for next year will leave many of the country's 10,000 fishermen worse off, and the consumer facing higher prices.
The fishing industry was divided on the deal. Hamish Morrison, of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, described the cuts as "disastrous". But Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations, said it "was a successful exercise against ... extreme proposals".