A commitment by fisheries minister of the EEC/EU in 1986 to cut overcapacity by 3% by 1991 has been ignored; capacity has actually increased by almost 20% since then. Total allowable catches and national quota have been systematically flouted. Haddock, cod and whiting are the species most affected.
In 1993, the British government abandoned its plans to reduce the number of days fishing boats can be at sea.
In 1995, the European Union fisheries ministers agreed to take account of fishing industry needs and soften proposals for sharp cuts in 1996 quotas that were aimed at protecting dwindling stocks. Northern stock hake quotas, important for Spanish and French fishermen, were fixed at nearly 29,000 tons, against the scientists' advice of 24,000 tons and 31,000 tons in 1995. The key overall North Sea plaice catch was slashed to 78,000 tons, from 115,000 tons in 1995. Scientists advised a cut to 61,000 tons.