Discard ban - dead in the water before it has even started?

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 28 November 2014

Discard ban - dead in the water before it has even started? MCS says MEPs must vote against changes that will leave ban useless Tweet your MP! A European ban on the practice of discarding (when fish are thrown overboard, usually dead) is due to be phased in from 2015 to 2019.

Discard ban - dead in the water before it has even started? MCS says MEPs must vote against changes that will leave ban useless Tweet your MP! A European ban on the practice of discarding (when fish are thrown overboard, usually dead) is due to be phased in from 2015 to 2019. However, before it has even started the ban is seriously under threat. Some MEPs are proposing changes to the regulation that is to align existing laws with the ban. These changes will not only undermine its overall objective but also actually encourage overfishing. The only way to ensure the discard ban comes into force in the way that will bring long-term benefits to both fish and fishing communities is for MEPs to vote against the proposed changes to the enabling regulation and to vote for the Commission’s original proposal. The discard ban was supported by over 880,000 members of the public through the FishFight public campaign between 2010 and 2012 This critical vote takes places on Wednesday, 3rd December at the PECH Committee meeting in Brussels. The discard ban is part of last years reformed Common Fisheries Policy, which agreed to set some ground breaking measures to once-and-for-all, end overfishing. Now it’s in danger of being consigned to the depths along with the fish it’s supposed to be saving. Discard bans for commercial species are employed in fisheries worldwide as a management tool to drive improvements in selectivity and monitoring, and to reduce waste. In 2012 82,000 tonnes of North Sea cod, haddock, whiting and plaice were discarded - a staggering 34% of the total catch of these species. The regulation (known as the Omnibus) is designed to simply align the old laws with the discard ban. For example, the old laws prohibited fish below the Minimum Landing Size (MLS) from being retained. But, under the new laws which include the discard ban, these fish legally have to be retained and count against quota, so there needs to be a change to the technical regulations to allow this. The Commission’s proposal will enable strong compliance and pursue a rational and practical approach and create a level playing field until improved and more detailed technical measures are passed in the future. But some MEPs are proposing amendments that would greatly undermine the discard ban and encourage overfishing. For example, some amendments would result in juvenile fish being caught, but NOT counted against quota, and others would see infringements against the discard ban treated with what amounts to just a slap on the wrist for the first two years of the ban. When considering that fleets will be receiving considerable extra quota to allow them to land fish they currently discard, not treating breaches seriously for two years may very well result in some operators continuing to discard, whilst also receiving extra quota to do so. These and many more proposed amendments are completely unacceptable and threaten the main objective of the reformed CFP - to end overfishing. Please tell your MEP that they must vote for the Commission’s proposal or risk the future of our fish for years to come. You can use our suggested tweets below to contact your own MEP who is on the PECH committee. or you can email them directly. UK Members of European Parliament in the PECH Committee David Coburn, Scotland MEP @DavidCoburnUKip david.coburn@europarl.europa.eu Richard Corbett, Yorkshire & Humber @RCorbettMEP richard.corbett@europarl.europa.eu Diane Dodds, Northern Ireland @DianeDoddsMEP diane.dodds@europarl.europa.eu Raymond Finch, SouthEast @raymondfinch raymond.finch@europarl.europa.eu Ian Hudghton, Scotland @hudghtonmepSNP Ian.hudghton@europarl.europa.eu If you don’t live in one of the above UK constituencies, you can tweet the PECH Committee as a whole at: PECH Committee Press @EP_Fisheries Suggested Tweets: @MEP = replace with your MEPs twitter handle - .@MEP. Don’t undermine measures 2 recover & sustainably manage our fisheries. Vote 4 Commission proposed omnibus regulation on 3 Dec - .@MEP. Don’t undermine the Discard Ban. Please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec. - .@MEP. Don’t undermine the Discard Ban that 880,000 ppl want! Please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec. - .@MEP. Please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec for the sake of our shared fisheries resources. - .@MEP. Don’t encourage overfishing! Please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec - .@MEP. If you care about long-term health of fisheries & fishing communities, please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec. - .@MEP. Don’t lose sight of reducing waste and long-term sustainable fisheries. Please vote for Commission’s omnibus proposal on 3 Dec.

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