EU Ministers Reach Deal on Agency to Manage Fisheries
BRUSSELS — European Union members clinched a deal Monday intended to protect cod and other threatened fish species from overfishing by setting up an agency to manage fisheries.
The once-common cod has long been a staple of European diets, but stocks have dropped dramatically in recent decades and increasingly tough catch quotas set by individual EU nations have failed reverse the trend.
Fishermen say the system of national quotas has too many loopholes, and the Community Fisheries Control Agency approved Monday is intended to improve and streamline controls considered key to EU efforts to build a sustainable fishing industry.
Fisheries ministers unanimously agreed to establish the agency, which will be based in the northern Spanish port of Vigo.
Last year, the EU rejected proposals to declare huge swathes of ocean off-limits for trawlers, settling instead for less drastic alternatives.
Scientists say North Sea cod stocks have shrunk to about a tenth of 1970 levels, and warned of depletion on the scale of eastern Canadian waters, where cod largely disappeared in the 1990s.
Source: Associated Press