Conservative MEPs win fight in call for discards ban

Brussels, 31st January 2008 — Conservative MEPs have netted a victory in their battle to throw the grotesque practice of dumping unintentionally caught fish back into our seas overboard.

Following their tough stance on the disgraceful practice, which sees more than one million tonnes of healthy fish dumped in EU waters every year, the European Parliament today approved amendments calling for a total ban on discards and an effective monitoring system, including the installation of CCTV cameras on fishing boats.

The original report before the Parliament this week suggested phasing out the huge quantities of fish thrown from the side of boats over the next 10 years, which could have meant a further 10 million tonnes of healthy fish dumped in our seas.

The discards problem arose from EU rules, which dictate that fishermen who land undersize or ‘out of quota’ fish are prosecuted. Sir Robert Atkins MEP, instead advocates a policy allowing fishermen to land everything they catch during a set period. Undersize fish or other species that previously would have been dumped overboard could then be sold to the processing sector, desperate for raw material to supply the fishmeal and fish oil industry.

Sir Robert said:

“We are delighted that our calls for an end to the discards disgrace have finally been heeded. This report was supposed to tackle the problem of the huge number of healthy fish dumped in our seas every year. But watered down following votes in committee, it became far too timid. We fought hard to strengthen the report and give it some teeth.

“Now we have won this key vote against fierce opposition, we expect to see rapid change. The EU cannot continue to condone a policy which leads to more than one million tonnes of healthy fish being discarded every year. We now look forward to the introduction of legislation aimed at putting an end to the discards debate.”

Top ↑