European Union ministers have voted to implement deep 50 per cent cuts in the total allowable catches, (TAC’s), available for cod taken in the North Sea next year, fearing the imminent collapse of stocks. They have also cut TAC’s for northern hake for seas between Skagerrak and the Bay of Biscay by 41-55 per cent, and west of Scotland cod by 50.5 per cent. Ministers also reduced quotas for North Sea whiting, although by less than the 35 per cent proposed by the European Commission. The North Sea cod cuts will apply to Norwegian as well as EU fishermen.

By Keith Nuthall, correspondent