EU Fishing Committee ‘overwhelmingly' backs Duncan Discard plan

10-Mar-2015 @ 14:0

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Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

Amjad Bashir Amjad Bashir

In a near unanimous vote the European Parliament’s Fishing Committee has backed Ian Duncan MEP’s plan for a workable fish discard ban.

Committee members voted 17 to 1 in favour of Dr Duncan’s proposal, which will give Fishermen two years to adapt to new rules banning the discard of fish. The discard ban is part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, brought in to stop caught fish being thrown back into the sea. Dr Duncan has campaigned in support of the ban but raised concerns that the European Commission was trying to push the reforms through too quickly and without the proper legal basis.

Dr Duncan said: "This entire episode has been a case of bad law-making and could have left fishermen in a legal no man’s land. From the outset, the European Commission was wrong in trying to treat all fisheries alike.

"I was clear that the pelagic species (Mackerel and Herring) could have been dealt with first, as they are a clean fishery, and then the more complicated demersal stock (Haddock, Whiting). Now all Fishermen have two years to adjust to the new rules and will be able to fish without fear of breaking the law.

"No one wants to throw back caught fish, least of all fishermen, but we need the right rules in place. The vote last night was another step down that road before the whole Parliament votes in April.

"I am however disappointed that my fellow Fishing Committee member David Coburn (UKIP) was not present for the vote. This could have had major consequences for the Scottish Fishing industry and as an MEP representing Scotland I would have expected Mr Coburn to be fully engaged in the process, especially as he was oddly in favour of the original Commission proposal."

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