A new environmental report has called for a ban on commercial fishing in almost a third of UK waters in order to protect some species of fish.

The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution has said UK fishing should be reduced to “an environmentally sustainable level”, reported BBC News Online.

The RCEP’s report on the impact of fisheries on the marine environment recommends setting up a network of protected areas within five years and reducing the capacity of the UK fishing fleet.

The organisation said such measures would save threatened species and ensure the future of the fishing industry.

Conservationists have been warning for some time that many fish stocks are in danger of collapse, but proposals to reduce fishing catches have been met with opposition from the fisheries industry, including communities that depend on it. The RCEP report calls for the government to review funding available to help communities with economic diversification.

However, fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw emphasised that measures have already been taken to help protect fish stocks.

“We need to give more time for the radical measures that we have already taken to have an impact,” Bradshaw was quoted by the BBC as saying.