Flak flies over EU fish conservation plan

Governments launch substantive debate over proposals to rein in chronic overfishing

A major political battle over the future of EU fisheries policies got underway in Brussels yesterday with a first ministerial debate on radical reform proposals from the European Commission. The six-nation "friends of fishing" group antagonised both the Commission and the EU's Danish presidency by releasing immediately after the meeting a series of counter-proposals aimed at limiting the scope of the reforms.

Released in May, the Commission's proposals aim to reverse chronic overfishing and preserve stocks, notably by dropping annual fishing quota-setting in favour of multi-annual plans, and by shifting power over decisions away from member states. Governments have been urged to reach agreement on three linked regulations by the end of the year (EED 28/05/02).

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