Richard Benyon, UK’s fisheries minister, said that there is no need to impose tougher controls and that he would argue against cuts in cod catches and in the number of fishing days.

EU ministers meet in Brussels on Tuesday for their annual fishing quota talks.

“We’re not absolutely perfectly at the trajectory laid out in the cod recovery plan but cod stocks are rising,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“The problem with the cod recovery plan is that it is a bad plan – there’s no flexibility in it at all.”

“If this cut goes ahead to quota and to the effort, the amount of time people can spend fishing, this is bad for sustainability.

He also said that the cut it is going to result in more discards and it is going to stop the schemes which are seeing practically no discards in the North Sea.

And he added: “Since then, there has been an encouraging upward swing in numbers but the fact remains that the cod are still below the lowest level at which scientists consider it safe to fish the stock.

“I think there’s general consensus in science that these minimum levels of fish stock are necessary in order to maintain the stock over the long term.”

Following the cod recovery plan would “lead us towards the ultimate goal of more cod in the sea – and therefore more to catch”.
Bertie Armstrong from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) told BBC News: “Over the last decade, the global volume of days at sea available to us has gone down by 70 per cent.

“We need this to finish now, everyone agrees that, but we are watching, regrettably, an arm wrestle or power struggle which is nothing to do with fisheries management.

Some environmentalists warn that cod stocks are still at risk.

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