Threat of total ban on turbot fishing
At the same time, documents from the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (Nafo) emerged, indicating that European boats were caught regularly in recent years breaking the rules in the Grand Banks area off the Canadian coast, but were rarely prosecuted.
The diplomatic negotiations that began in Brussels following the release from St John's harbour on Wednesday of the Spanish trawler Estai were meant to prepare the ground for a ministerial session of Nafo next week.
Canada has asked for a postponement of the meeting, however, and its negotiators have been recalled to Ottawa.
A scientific vessel sailed from St John's to where the Estai was seized on 9 March on the edge of the Grand Banks, just beyond Canada's 200-mile territorial waters, to assess how many Greenland halibut remain.
The Fisheries Minister, Brian Tobin, warned: "If the only way that the stock is viable is to fish it the way the Estai was, then maybe it ought not be fished, period". The prospect was greeted with resignation by fishermen in St John's whose lives have been devastated by a ban on cod fishing. "Nobody wants to see another moratorium," Earle McCurdy, president of the fishermen's union, said. "But there comes a time when the best recourse is to give the fish a rest".
Mr Tobin said if enough fish are found in the waters, Canada may offer the Europeans an increased share of the Nafo quota for Greenland halibut, set this year at 27,000 tons. The EU share of that total had been fixed at 3,400 tons, considered unacceptable by Brussels.
The Nafo documents show that in 1992 and 1993, inspectors from Canada and the EU issued scores of citations against Spanish and Portuguese vessels in the Grand Banks.
Under Nafo rules, it is up to the vessels' home countries to prosecute. But in 1993, only six of the 49 vessels charged with violations were prosecuted.
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Madonna claims jokes about her age tantamount to racism: 'No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black'
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Madonna claims jokes about her age tantamount to racism: 'No one would dare to say a degrading remark about being black'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...