Ministers will resist new curbs on fishing

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Government yesterday pledged to resist moves to curb fishing in European waters as fears mounted that 800 boats and 3,000 jobs may be at risk.

The Government yesterday pledged to resist moves to curb fishing in European waters as fears mounted that 800 boats and 3,000 jobs may be at risk.

Figures in a document discussed by fisheries ministers suggest big reductions are necessary if dwindling stocks are to be preserved, and that British capacity may need to be cut by 8.4 per cent. But the ideas outlined in the European Commission report do not constitute a formal proposal and no agreement on curbs will be sought until next year.

A commission spokesman said: "We have to launch a broader debate. Our suggestions in the paper are not cast in stone. We want to discuss them with ministers and consult with the fishing industry in September."

Up to 2,000 jobs in Devon and Cornwall and 1,000 in Scotland could be under threat if the paper becomes the basis for formal proposals.

British officials in Brussels said the potential cuts are likely to be opposed by other countries. A number would be hard hit, including Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands, with an average EU reduction of 5.4 per cent envisaged.

Elliot Morley, fisheries minister, said: "We are not going to agree to a package that is going to reduce... 800 fishing vessels. We are going to need support from other countries, but I am confident we can get support for that. We don't think the cuts being proposed by the commission are justified by the figures. We don't think the commission are taking into account what we have done in the UK to reduce the capacity of the fleet."

Comments