EU ministers reach deal on fish discards ban

Feb 27, 2013
A fishing boat anchors at the fishing port of Isla Cristina, southern Spain, on December 15, 2011. EU fishery ministers agreed Wednesday to implement a ban on discards—the wasteful practice of dumping unwanted fish overboard—by easing quota limits, much to the anger of environmental groups.

EU fishery ministers agreed Wednesday to implement a ban on discards—the wasteful practice of dumping unwanted fish overboard—by easing quota limits, much to the anger of environmental groups.

After talks Tuesday ran overnight to some 20 hours, ministers reached a "general approach" on the discard ban adopted in June last year as part of an overhaul of fisheries policy to put it on a more sustainable basis.

The key principle is that all fish caught will be landed, with none discarded, but fisherman will be granted leeway on existing quotas so that they can adjust over time to the new approach.

Under the accord, there will be a 9.0 percent exemption from quotas for the first two years, falling to 8.0 percent in the next two and finally 7.0 percent while some quotas may be transferable.

"Theses exemptions apply under strict conditions, in particular that all such catches should be fully recorded," a statement after the meeting said.

Ministers also agreed that some of the fish landed that otherwise would have been discarded could be used for charitable purposes.

Anchovy fishing boats arrive in the port of Saint-Nazaire, western France to obtain fishing quotas on July 10, 2007. EU fishery ministers agreed Wednesday to implement a ban on discards—the wasteful practice of dumping unwanted fish overboard—by easing quota limits, much to the anger of environmental groups.

The changes will be introduced from January 1, 2014 and be phased in through to 2019 depending on the and the sea areas.

Irish Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Simon Coveney, who chaired the talks, said ministers had wanted to see real change in how EU are exploited and managed.

The accord would meet environmental concerns over stocks and sustainability, while ensuring that fishermen would still have a job in five to 10 years time, Coveney said.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said the deal represented "a major change" and promised help for the as it adjusts to the new policy.

Environmental groups attacked the accord.

"France and Spain led a group of countries into dismantling a hard earned discard ban that was overwhelmingly passed through the last month," the Oceana group said in a statement.

All member states agreed to the proposal, except Sweden which wanted a much more restrictive deal, and it now goes forward for further discussion with the European Parliament.

After agreeing the discard ban last year, talks on implementing it proved technically very difficult.

Small and young fish, for example, could be removed by changing net sizes but multi-species fisheries proved much more difficult since there was no obvious technical answer to prevent unwanted fish being taken.

In this case, any accord had to resolve what to do with the unwanted catch until fishermen can adjust their methods to minimise the problem.

It has been estimated that up to a quarter of all caught in the EU is discarded, with virtually all dying as a result, making it a huge problem at a time when most stocks are under pressure from over-fishing.

Explore further: Norway plans to slash subsidies to fur farms

Related Stories

EU fish discard ban agreed -- for 2019

Jun 13, 2012

After 20 hours of talks into the early hours Wednesday, Europe's fisheries ministers finally struck a compromise deal to save the oceans from overfishing -- but failed to satisfy environmentalists.

Disputed fish quota cuts lead to tough EU talks

Dec 18, 2012

EU fishery ministers began difficult talks Tuesday on the vexed question of 2013 quotas as they sought to balance conflicting demands from environmentalists and fishermen alike.

MEPs approve new EU sustainable fishery regime

Feb 06, 2013

The European Parliament approved Wednesday a new fisheries accord hailed by environmental groups as a breakthrough in managing a key food resource which has been over-exploited for years.

No sea change for European fishing

Jun 08, 2012

An ambitious reform of Europe's fishing sector to help replenish shrinking fish stocks appears likely to be watered down substantially by European Union nations, diplomats said Friday.

EU keeps controversial fishing subsidies

Oct 24, 2012

The EU agreed on Wednesday to maintain controversial fishing subsidies, sparking a sharp response from environmental groups who say the payments contribute to overfishing of already stressed stocks.

Recommended for you

Norway plans to slash subsidies to fur farms

9 hours ago

Norwegian fur farmers denounced Tuesday a government proposal to slash financial support to the controversial industry and warned that it could lead to farm closures in vulnerable rural areas.

Hitting the borders of expansion

13 hours ago

Why does a species not adapt to an ever-wider range of conditions, gradually expanding its geographical range? In their paper published on May 5 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), Jitka Polecho ...

Fire linked to dieback spread

14 hours ago

Fire has the potential to increase the range and severity of Phytophthora dieback in native plant communities infected with the disease, suggests a study at the Stirling Range National Park near Albany.

How mixing light with salt makes a smolt?

14 hours ago

For decades, researchers have tried to find out what regulates changes in salmon when they transform from being freshwater to saltwater fish. Now they have come a little closer to an answer.

Australia—riding on the insect's back

15 hours ago

As you may have spotted, the title of this article is a cheeky reference to the famous saying that Australia rides on the back of a particular woolly ruminant. The reference dates back to 1894, when the wool ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.