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EU agrees to catch more fish sustainably in 2018

December 13, 2017

FILE - In this May 13, 2013 file photo, WWF members and sympathizers protest against overfishing of the European seas in front of the EU Council in Brussels. After marathon talks that ended early Wednesday Dec. 13, 2017, European Union nations have agreed to set quota levels that ensure more sustainable fishing in the Northeastern Atlantic and the North Sea, but environmentalists insist the bloc is behind in its schedule to end overfishing by 2020. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union nations have agreed to set quota levels that ensure more sustainable fishing in the northeastern Atlantic and the North Sea, but environmentalists insist the bloc is behind in its schedule to end overfishing by 2020.

After marathon talks that ended early Wednesday, EU fisheries ministers said they added nine fish stocks — species of fish in defined geographical areas — to those that are managed sustainably, bringing the total to 53. Only nine years ago, when several key stocks were threatened with commercial extinction, the number stood at five.

“Each year, we move closer and closer to our objective of sustainable fisheries, and this will bring substantial long-term rewards,” said EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

Lasse Gustavsson of the Oceana environmental group said that the “progress made so far is insufficient” to end overfishing for all EU stocks by 2020.

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