MPs attack restrictions on fishing time limits

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The Independent Online
GOVERNMENT plans to introduce restrictions on the number of days fishermen can spend at sea are 'unnecessarily Draconian' and should be abandoned, the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture reports today.

The policy, due to start in January, is aimed at conserving diminishing fish stocks in EC waters. But the MPs say it will threaten the livelihood of Britain's fishing fleet.

Proposals to decommission fishing vessels are also criticised as 'half-hearted'. The committee says the pounds 25m the Government has committed to the scheme is not enough.

Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Agriculture, said last night that she was glad the select committee agreed that fish stocks needed to be conserved. But proposals for conservation had to be 'enforceable, workable and approved by the European Community'.