Agreement reached to deliver EU fish discards ban

29-Jan-2015 @ 13:0

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MEPs and EU Governments have reached an agreement on a simple set of rules that will allow the EU's ban on fishing discards to be implemented whilst taking care to avoid extra burdens to Europe's fishermen.

The tough negotiations on landing obligations aim to deliver an end to the practice of throwing back dead fish as a result of Common Fisheries Policy quotas. With certain specific exemptions, fishermen would have to log and land everything they catch, providing valuable data on the state of local fish stocks.

The agreement will also tackle issues surrounding storage of fish that cannot be sold, with the aim of not overburdening fishermen. Smaller vessels will not have to sort and log catches less than 50kg, taking the burden off of small crews. When fishermen land fish that cannot be sold for human consumption member states will be responsible for storing, selling or disposing of the fish as well as supporting investment in the construction of landing sites and through adding value to fisheries products.

The controversial issue of whether CCTV should be installed on ships to monitor the ban will be left to each EU Member State.

Although the agreement is intended to reduce administrative burdens on fishermen, EU Member States will have to report back on its impact each year to ensure it is not having a detrimental impact on Europe's fishermen.

The agreement delivers on commitments made during the recent overhaul of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy, which sees more power devolved back towards local fishermen to take fisheries management decisions.

Scottish MEP Dr Ian Duncan, the ECR's shadow rapporteur (one of the parliament's lead MEPs) on the proposal, said:

"We have fought to ensure the discard ban works not just in theory or on paper, but in reality, in the many boats around our coast that must change how they fish. 

"I am hopeful that we have achieved an approach that will ensure a culture change at sea that will benefit fish and fishermen.

"The ECR will follow closely the annual reports on the implementation and impact of the discard ban, and call for action when needed". « Back