Two-year discards deal

Fishermen will have two years to ‘adapt’ before sanctions for failing to comply with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) discard ban take effect, under a tentative EU deal struck yesterday.
The agreement amends the ‘omnibus’ regulation setting out detailed arrangements for enforcing the ban.
MEPs sought to make small fishermen’s lives easier by restricting the obligation to keep a fishing logbook, listing all quantities of each species caught and kept on board, to catches above 50 kg of live-weight equivalent.
They also deleted a requirement to separate out undersized catches in different boxes. Other changes to the original Commission proposal include introducing a mechanism to prevent the development of a parallel market for non-marketable catches.
These rules are urgently needed because the discard ban is already in force, since 1 January, for pelagic species, and the ‘landing obligation’ regulation is needed to adapt seven current EU laws which conflict with the new rules.
The ban is to take effect gradually, in stages, between now and 2019.
The compromise text will be submitted to a first reading vote in plenary in April at the earliest, after which the Council must formally approve it. It will then be published in the Official Journal of the EU.
The discard ban, or landing obligation, is one of the central objectives of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, approved by the European Parliament in December 2013.
Discards are fish thrown back into the sea, usually because they are of an unwanted species or size. Most of the discarded species die, thus making it a wasteful practice.