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Dartmoor Zoo becomes a charity after crowd-funding campaign

A zoo that inspired a Hollywood film has become a charity.

It comes after an online crowd-funding appeal to raise £1.6m for Devon's Dartmoor Zoo closed on Monday after raising nearly £340,000.

The appeal was boosted by an anonymous gift of £300,000 from a mystery donor. Director Ben Mee said the gaining of the new status meant the zoo's future was "as secure as it has ever been".

Benjamin Mee bought the tourist attraction after the death of his wife Katherine in 2006, inspiring the film 'We Bought A Zoo', which starred Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

Dartmoor Zoo looks after a wide range of wild and exotic animals from tigers to tortoises Credit: ITV News

Two shopping days to Christmas!

Many shops are reporting a rise in sales this Christmas Credit: PA

With Christmas looming fast, many shops in the South West are reporting sales up on last year. Saturday and Sunday was one of the busiest weekends of the year for Drake Circus in Plymouth - but the shopping centre is expecting today and tomorrow to be even busier.

In terms of online shopping we've definitely seen a big shift this year in terms of going to click and collect.

– Greg Lumley, Drake Circus

Looe fisherman says quotas were already too low

Fisherman Dave Bond says quotas were already too low Credit: ITV West Country/Kathy Wardle

Dave Bond has fished out of Looe for 36 years. He says EU quotas are taking their toll on the fleet.

Next year's quotas aren't quite as hard hitting as feared. But there are still reductions to sole, cod, haddock and plaice. Quotas for species like megrim and monkfish will stay the same.

Dover sole's used to be three months work for me, and now I can't even fish Dover Sole's because we catch our quota for the month in less than an hour, it's ridiculous.

No cut is a good cut in our eyes, the base figures they started with weren't good. From our point of view as a ten metre boat, we had insufficient quota when it first started so any cut is obviously just another nail in the coffin really.

– Dave Bond, fisherman

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Fishing expert warns South West fisherman will suffer

Plymouth Fisheries Manager warns fishermen in the South West will lose out Credit: David Cheskin/PA

Plymouth Fisheries manager Pete Bromley has warned that fishermen in the South West may still be forced out of the industry despite the Government securing what it claimed was a “fair deal” at European talks to agree new quotas.

The EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council meeting ended late last night. Whilst the outcome was not as devastating as initially feared, the long-term impact of the new deal would still have far-reaching negative effects.

The new quotas are the best result for the South West fishing industry that we could have hoped for from what is now accepted to be a bad management system, and admittedly not the disaster we first feared. But whilst they may not herald the demise of the industry entirely, they will still increase the pressure on fishermen already struggling to operate viable businesses.

Maintaining the quota of some species at the same level as last year might be seen as a ‘win’ but the operating costs of fishing vessels in the coming year doesn’t stay the same; costs like fuel and fishing nets inevitably increase. Therefore simple economics means once again, fishermen will be worse off – and in some cases, possibly forced out of the industry or face having to reduce the number of their crew to stay viable.

Quotas are still continually being set too low, often because of flawed, inaccurate or insufficient scientific data, but there comes a point where fishermen will go out of business if they are not allowed to catch enough fish to pay the bills.

– Pete Bromley, Manager of Plymouth Fisheries and Harbour Master of Sutton Harbour

Fishing quotas are bad news for the West Country

New agreement on fishing quotas and industry rules will affect the West Credit: David Cheskin/PA

A new agreement on fishing quotas and industry rules has left the West Country's fishermen concerned for their livelihoods.

The package for next year was signed off at the EU Fisheries and Agriculture Council following negotiations in Brussels. some proposed cuts to quotas were reduced. Fisheries Minister George Eustice was pleased with the result, and said it would lead to "sustainable fisheries and a strong UK fishing industry".

But the new rules will have a direct impact on fishing industries in the South West.

  • There will be a 10 per cent cut to Channel plaice, which will have a big impact on Brixham, a lot of concern.
  • Cuts to the white fishery - cod 26 per cent, whiting 14 per cent, haddock 12 pre cent - which will lead to more discards.
  • For Newlyn’s net fishing things are looking better. They won’t have any cut in angler or megrim. And the hake quota is going up by 11 per cent.
  • For the Bristol Channel, the Sole quota is being cut by 15 per cent.
  • There is renewed concern about small boats. This year they ran out of quota in the Bristol Channel in October. The experts say they now expect it to be even worse in 2015.

Somerset farmers to protest falling milk prices

Farmers will protest in Bridgwater tonight over a further cut to the price they get paid for milk.

The new drop in price means farmers only receive an average of 24p per litre of milk - which costs around 30p to produce.

This follows similar action in October, when farmers blockaded a supermarket depot in Bridgwater.

Tune in to ITV News West Country at 6pm tonight, when we'll be talking to a dairy farmer about what has prompted this latest protest.

Tonight's protest will be the latest in a long-running dispute. Credit: ITV News

The price of milk could drop even further

Some dairy farmers could get even less for their milk Credit: PA

Dairy farmers across the region were hit by another financial blow today - as it emerged many of them are to get even less for their milk.

It will affect farmers who have contracts with Dairy Crest to supply milk to Davidstow - the North Cornwall based creamery.

From 3 January - they will get 1.25p less per litre for their milk - that's just under 28p per litre. Last April they were getting around 34p.

Over the last few months the message from farmers here - is that they are struggling to break even. Some are even wondering if there's a future in the industry

We are prepared for worse to follow as we know that China has stopped buying hugely - the Russian ban has added insult to injury on that front.

And also we've had a brilliant year for production. Production has been racing ahead worldwide so you have supply and demand issues only likely to head one way as it stands.

– andy branton Dairy farmer
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