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October 20, 2003 12:00 AM

Andrew George MP for St Ives on fishing boatCommenting on today's report on fish stocks from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), Liberal Democrat Shadow Fisheries Minister Andrew George MP, said:

"We must take these ICES warnings with a pinch of salt. Decisions on fishing quotas must be based on sound science. The ICES have not always got things right as this year's upward revision of the monkfish quota proves.

"The situation in the North Sea is serious, although in Western waters the cod stock is far higher than scientists had predicted. It will be a difficult but vital task to establish an acceptable management regime.

"Any quota restrictions on cod should not be used to restrict the fishing of haddock, whiting, prawns, mackerel and other fish whose populations are in good health."