Shephard plea on fish stocks

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GILLIAN SHEPHARD, the Minister of Agriculture, yesterday demanded international action to conserve the world's fishing stocks. She told the Commons agriculture select committee: 'Unless common action is taken there will be no fish for anyone to fish.'

Mrs Shephard was speaking as fishermen's wives and families lobbied MPs to protest against planned restrictions on the number of days they could fish at sea. On Wednesday night, Michael Jack, the fisheries minister, announced that the Government was postponing the introduction of the new limits until 1 January. But fishermen still say that the restrictions are too harsh and will force some into bankruptcy.

Mrs Shephard said that the postponement would give time to find a common solution. It was a myth fishermen were being restricted to 80 days at sea - the largest provisional allocation was 337 days.