Commission warned over discard policy –

Commission warned over discard policy Published:  26 June, 2007

Mike Park

THE European Commission must not try to impose their own “top down” policy over fish discards, an industry leader said tonight.

Mike Park, the executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association said that he was concerned that the Commission might be inclined to push their own preferred structure rather than allowing member states time to formulate their own regional programmes and best practice.

“I think member states’ time must take precedence over Commission time,” he said.

In other words, member states must have the chance to formulate their own policy rather than have one imposed upon them.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg has emphasised that a community discard policy cannot come overnight, but initial proposals could be aired next year.

Dr Borg said in Aberdeen on Friday that there were problems over sustainable fisheries, yet it was difficult to avoid a situation where fish are not discarded, given the existing system.

“Therefore we need to look at the system and see how it can be adapted and introduce measures in the form of incentives, also different methods of management of fisheries, so that hopefully discarding can become hopefully a thing of the past.” However, this cannot happen overnight, he underlined.

“This has to be against a time frame which can be quite long. There are cases where a discard ban can be relatively easy to implement in cases where you target one species and basically catch that species.

“On the other hand, where you have essentially a mixed fishery it becomes more complex and more difficult and you have to encourage measures with regard to more selectivity for example.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.