EU Fisheries and Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler has voiced his support for the measures to prevent overfishing agreeed at the ongoing World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

Commenting on the agreement to prevent overfishing in international waters and to restore stocks of threatened species which was reached at the Summit, Fischler said: "I fully support the agreement reached in Johannesburg which commits countries to limiti fishing to sustainable levels and take steps to restore stocks by 2015. This is a clear signal that there is growing recognition at an international global level of the need to take fisheries conservation seriously.

"I am very pleased that the conference has set a target to achieve recovery of fish stocks. However, as far as the EU waters are concerned, we would like to see this achieved long before that date, and indeed, to see action taken before the end of the year. I am sure that EU Fisheries Ministers will play their part and that they also recognise the seriousness of the problem and the necessity for decisive action. The Summit agreement has also taken a tough line on illegal and unregulated fisheries which I welcome. Action to eradicate illegal fishing is a priority.

"In May this year, we put forward an action plan to fight illegal fisheries and ensure sustainable fisheries beyond EU waters. We fully support the proposals made in Johannesburg and look forward to working with the participants to put a stop to these practices which jeopardise the future of all fishermen."