Quota brings new fears for the porbeagle

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The EU has agreed a fishing quota that conservationists fear could lead to porbeagle sharks being wiped out.

The Council of Ministers had been urged to impose tough restrictions to allow porbeagles, which are slow-growing, a chance to recover from decades of unrestricted overfishing.

Britain led the way by agreeing to accept a total allowable catch of only four tonnes, equivalent to 20 large sharks weighing an average of 200kg (440lb) each.

The EU proposed initially a total quota for Europe of 422 tonnes, but by the time a deal was agreed yesterday lobbying by France and Portugal had increased that to 586 tonnes, about 3,000 adult sharks.

The porbeagle, a close relative of the man-eating great white, is prized in France and sells for