Subject: Fishing:EU ministers agree fish conser (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 17 Nov 1997 13:57:04 -0500 (EST)


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Date: Sat, 15 Nov 97 14:51:00 GMT 
Subject: EU ministers agree fish conser

EU ministers agree fish conservation measures

    LUXEMBOURG, Oct 30 (Reuters) - European Union fisheries
ministers agreed on Thursday on measures aimed at conserving
fish stocks by cutting down on the number of young fish caught
before they had a chance to reproduce.
     "A large majority were in favour of the (Luxembourg EU)
Presidency compromise," Luxembourg Minister for Agriculture
Fernand Boden told a news conference after the day-long meeting
in the Grand Duchy.
     The ministers had been considering technical proposals put
forward by the European Commission, which included specifying
minimum mesh sizes to be used for catching different kinds of
fish -- with bigger holes allowing young fish to slip through.
     Ministers agreed on a minimum mesh size of 100 millimetres
-- albeit less than the Commission's proposal of 110 millimetres
- applying to larger fish like cod, haddock and whiting in the
EU's northern fishing waters, and a minimum mesh size of 70
millimetres in the southern waters.
     The use of 80 millimetre mesh nets for hake fishing off the
west coast of Scotland -- a proposal supported by the Spanish --
was also agreeed upon.
     Britain had raised objections, arguing that at the same time
as catching hake the nets would catch bigger species of fish,
but was comforted by accompanying tougher rules that meant
fishing boats would have to declare their catch every 24 hours.
     Boden told the news conference that a number of areas still
had to be dealt with, such as whether boats should carry one net
or two.
     The meeting also discussed the bloc's fishing accords with
countries outside the EU, stressing the importance of
coordinating them with EU development policy, and the need to
study the costs of such agreements versus the benefits .
     Ministers also agreed to reconsider the issue of drift nets
which environmental groups such as Greenpeace say kill thousands
of dolphins and other marine mammals annually and which they
have campaigned vigourously to abolish.
     British fisheries minister Elliot Morley told reporters it
had been agreed a proposal to phase out drift nets on the high
seas would be put forward under the British six-month EU
presidency, which begins in January.
     "There is a very good chance of an agreement under the
British presidency," he said.
     A European Union Commission's proposal for a total ban on
drift nets by January 1998 has been on the table since 1994 but
had up to know been opposed by many member states.