Rethink urged on "criminally insane" discards policy –

Rethink urged on “criminally insane” discards policy Published:  22 November, 2007

Struan Stevenson

SCOTS Euro MP, Struan Stevenson will today deliver the message that it is time for a radical re-think of the “criminally insane” EU fishing policy, which sees over one million tonnes of healthy fish discarded each year, to the European Parliament Fisheries Committee in Brussels.

Europe, he says, urgently needs to seek a solution that is fair to fishermen and the solution could be allowing fishermen to land everything they catch in the 10 days per month they are allowed to fish.

Speaking in Brussels, Mr Stevenson said: “This criminally insane discard policy has become the unacceptable face of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.

“If we are successful in tackling the discards issue, then a better system of management is needed. One where fishermen could land everything they catch in the 10 or 12 days a month they are allowed to fish. Instead of being compelled to dump fish, fishermen would be compelled to land everything. It would become an offence to discard undersize or out of quota fish.

“The Land All policy would give scientists a much clearer picture of what fish were being caught where, and would enable more accurate conservation and recovery plans to be devised.

“Also, when young, undersize fish are landed, fisheries inspectors could immediately call for a temporary closure of specific fishing grounds, to avoid further pressure on immature stocks.

“Under this policy, undersize fish and other species, which previously would have been discarded, could be sold to the processing sector. A sector that is desperate for raw material to supply the fishmeal and fish oil industry.

“In an industry already constrained by limitations of the number of days that can be spent at sea, time spent catching and sorting fish of no commercial value is regarded by fishermen as valuable time lost. We must urgently help them find a sensible, workable solution to the problem.”

Mr Stevenson is responding to the discards policy report by Green MEP, Carl Schlyter. The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee will vote on the Schlyter Report on ‘A policy to reduce unwanted by-catches and eliminate discards in European fisheries’ today, in Brussels. 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.