The European Commission has approved two British fisheries aid schemes aimed at conserving threatened EU fish stocks.

The largest involves the spending of £40m (US$66.8m) on the decommissioning of Scottish fishing vessels that target cod, with the aim of reducing catches by between 15% and 20%. To receive grants, boat owners will have to deregister their vessels permanently, surrendering all fishing licences.

A smaller scheme involves the buy-out of licences from fishermen catching salmon with nets off north-east England, boosting its budget from £750,000 to £1.25m. The initial fund has proved insufficient to persuade enough English salmon fishermen to abandon their work.