Agreement has been reached by EU ministers on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Described by some as the most significant EU fisheries council in over a decade, more than 20 hours of negotiations in Luxemburg finished at 5am with an agreement on the contentious issue of discarding dead fish.

The practice of throwing millions of tonnes of unwanted dead fish back into the water will now be banned on a phased basis.

A compromise put forward by Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney was accepted by his EU counterparts.

It sets provisional dates for introducing the ban on a phased basis starting in 2014 for mackerel and herring, and in 2015 for cod, haddock and other white fish.

The total ban will be fully in place by 1 January 2018.