FISHERMEN will be given two years to adjust to new rules banning the discarding of caught fish, following a vote today in the European parliament.
The discard ban was brought in at the start of this year as part of reforms to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, and aims to resolve issues around the storage of fish that cannot be sold.
Following an amendment brought in by Conservative fisheries spokesman Ian Duncan MEP, and backed by the Fisheries Committee, member states and fishermen will be given a two-year ‘grace period’ to adapt to the ban.
But while Duncan, former secretary to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, welcomed today’s vote in Strasbourg, he has warned that the Scottish government must support fishermen to implement the changes.
‘Parliament has ensured skippers will have a two-year clear period to adjust to the new rules without fear of heavy handed enforcement.
‘However, fishermen urgently need guidance and support so they can fish without fear of breaking the law.
‘Importantly, member states must make use of the flexibility they now have, so fishermen can make a challenging and complex set of rules work in practice.
‘The Scottish government must now tell fishermen what support they will offer to help address issues like shore-side handling, vessel adaptation, and how it will monitor and finance the changes.’