Public pressure looks to have encouraged early debate on discards
European ministers are meeting in Brussels today (01.03.11) to discuss proposals on how to end the wasteful practice of discarding, that's when fish are thrown back into the sea, dead.
MCS Fisheries Programme Manager, Peter Duncan, says any announcement on discards is pobably a prelude to the contents of the proposed reformed of the Common Fisheries Policy, which is due in a few months. "The problem is there are some ideas of what needs to happen with the CFP, but the requirement for agreement by the member states makes this uncertain as not all countries desire significant reform."
"MCS supports the radical reform of CFP, given its numerous failures. There are many examples of novel management that could improve things. MCS is proposing, along with Client Earth, it's innovative Fishing Credits System for instance. Logically, it's important to decide first what you want to achieve, and then look at ways to do it. In that sense discards are a clear waste of resources and a disincentive to good and efficient practice. Ironically, given that discarding could be argued to favour short-term economics, it has not really put fishermen in a better position because the consequent reduction in fish stocks and negative publicity has threatened the long-term viability of the industry. The widespread support for the Fish Fight campaign, including from industry, clearly indicates that no-one has a good word to say about discards, the argument will come about what to do to fix it."
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