Cod stock fears as North Sea fishing ban dropped

Cod stock fears as North Sea fishing ban dropped
The Times – London,England,UK

Cod stock fears as North Sea fishing ban dropped
By Simon Freeman, Times Online

The European Commission today abandoned demands for the closure of key British cod fisheries in a compromise deal designed to preserve both dwindling cod stocks and the UK’s struggling fishing industry.

Ben Bradshaw, the Fisheries Minister, said the climbdown – announced after all-night talks in Brussels – would avert the devastation of the fleet, which would have ensued if the no-go areas proposed in the North Sea, west of Scotland, and the Irish Sea had been imposed.

An alternative plan to reduce the number of permitted cod fishing days from 15 to 13, again opposed by the Government, was also rejected at the meeting of EU Fisheries Ministers.

Instead, the most far-reaching immediate concession to reverse the decline in stocks was an agreement for crews to use nets with a larger mesh size to allow more juvenile fish to escape capture.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution last week recommended that almost a third of UK waters become marine reserves protected from fishing to save threatened species. The European Commission had called for closure in an area that accounts for 40 per cent of cod catches

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