Commission plan avoids fisheries closures

Proposed fishing quotas for 2004 extend cuts to new species, ignore experts' recommended moratorium

The fishing of certain stocks in European waters for which the International council for the exploration of the seas (Ices) had recommended a zero catch should continue in 2004 but subject to strict limits, the European Commission has proposed. The quota for North Sea cod should remain at the same level as last year, while a 50% reduction would affect the southern hake and western Channel sole.

The plan, which also calls for "urgent action to be taken to ensure compliance with the rules", will now be examined by the EU council of ministers, which in the past has consistently watered down the Commission's original proposals (EED 03/01/03).

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