UK Trawl Fishers Ignore Ban On Discarding Edible Fish At Sea

Source: The Guardian/Fiona Harvey

Photo: Peter Jemmett/Wikimedia Commons

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Public backing for a ban on discarding edible fish at sea has been thwarted by the reluctance of the fishing industry and the government to put an end to the wasteful practice, the House of Lords has found.

Discards were officially banned in January, after a five-year phase-in period, but the practice appears to have continued, with the government failing to take action, said a Lords EU energy and environment subcommittee report.

Lord Krebs, a committee member, told the Guardian: “Everyone thinks [the discard ban] is a great idea, and a part of sustainable fishing. But we found fishermen were not aware of it or not implementing it, the enforcement bodies were not enforcing, and the solutions not being used.”

About 1.7m tonnes of fish are discarded across the EU every year, because fleets catch fish for which they do not have a quota, or have already exceeded their quota, or because they throw back fish judged to be of low commercial value. The new “landing obligation” under the EU common fisheries policy means fleets must bring ashore all they catch, whether it is commercially valuable or not.

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Photo: Peter Jemmett/Wikimedia Commons

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