Under European Commission emergency powers, a large area of the North Sea is under a fishing ban to preserve and protect spawning cod stocks. The ban will remain in place for another eight weeks when the 40,000 square miles of fishing grounds will be re-opened to boats. The ban mainly affects fishermen in Norway, Denmark and the UK. Icelandic waters are unaffected. Whilst these measures are for a short period and are designed to protect both the fishing industry and fish stocks in the longer term, the measures could not have arisen at a worse time for an industry hoping to take advantage of temporarily high meat prices. Grimsby market reported that fish sales are starting to increase as consumers start making the switch to fish because of foot and mouth. In Plymouth, prices were described as sky high for two reasons, poor landings due to bad weather and huge demand from customers switching to fish. Some vessels are being allowed into the area under the conditions of the ban to fish, but special satellite monitoring equipment has to be installed first. The vessels remain under constant supervision by the various EU countries that fish in the area. As a result many of the boats in Scotland are tied up with only tiny amounts of fish available at Scottish markets, with the industry as a whole feeling the pinch. Representations have been made to the Scottish Assembly and a million pound aid package is being put together to help overhaul and reshape the Scottish fishing industry from top to bottom. The aim of the proposed plan is to make the fish industry in Scotland much more effective and competitive and details of the plan will be available soon. In Hull and Grimsby supplies are described as "fair" with Icelandic fish now available in good quantities. {{M/E MEAT }}