The European Commission said on Thursday that the longstanding problem of over-fishing by EU member states has finally shown signs of easing.
In what the European Union executive says could be an encouraging trend after years of radical cuts to quotas and the destruction of the industry in many regions, reductions imposed for excessive catches were down on previous years.
"I note the reduction in the total amount of overfishing as compared to last year and aim at ensuring a longer term trend in this respect," said Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
"As we now work towards the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, our priority is to ensure that the rules are rigorously and fairly enforced for all" in the interests of "the long-term sustainability of our stocks."
Fourteen of the 28 EU states led by the top fishing fleet of Spain had their quotas for 2013 on 17 fish stocks reduced. Madrid faced a cut of about 600,000 tonnes overall.
Portugal also went over its allocations for 12 species, especially haddock, and saw its allowable catch there slashed by nearly 400,000 tonnes for this year as a result.
France, on the other hand, faces only a 554-tonne cut in its haddock quota and a token 0.05-tonne reduction in its mackerel limit.
Britain's herring quota also saw a minor tweak, less than 200 tonnes down.
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