Fishing deal achivead
Baku Sun – Azerbaijan
BRUSSELS, Belgium — European Union ministers rejected proposals to declare huge swathes of ocean off-limits for trawlers and settled for less brutal alternatives in an attempt to protect such threatened fish as the once-common cod.
Wednesday’s decision was considered a breakthrough for the fishing industry, which effectively watered down the proposals of the EU’s head office and won measures that would better protect the embattled EU fleet.
“We welcome the fact that plans for closed areas have been withdrawn,” said British Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw.
In the final vote of the 25 ministers early Wednesday, only Lithuania voted against the plans for next year’s fisheries program. Greece abstained after the 20-hour negotiations.
EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said the new package would “rebuild depleted stocks without economically crippling the fleets concerned.”
Borg stressed that EU member states would impose tougher monitoring restrictions to make sure fishermen do not exceed quotas. The restrictions include a 4 1/2 month summer ban on cod fishing in the Baltic Sea. Also, boats catching more than 1 ton of cod in the North Sea must have their hauls inspected.
Spanish and Portuguese boats will be limited to 22 days of fishing for squid and octopus per month and 20 days per month for sole fishing in the Atlantic.
The creation of no-fishing zones off Scotland, Ireland and Denmark to let threatened stocks recover had been a key part of the European Commission’s proposals, and Borg said he was disappointed the member countries did not follow his lead