MEPs support an end to fish discards

Cod stocks were given a boost recently after the European Parliament backed proposals from the commission that aim to update the failing 2004 cod recovery plan. The current measures have so far proved insufficient in allowing cod stocks to recover and have had a disastrous knock on effect of the entire whitefish fleet, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, said today.

Under the current system of micromanagement, fishermen are forced to throw back (or discard) tonnes of healthy fish when they are abundant in catches, even though there is significant evidence to suggest climate change, and not over fishing, is the main cause of the problem. The new proposals will attempt to overcome this by encouraging both fishermen and member states to engage in cod-avoidance programmes and efforts to reduce discards of perfectly healthy fish.

Sir Robert said:

“Every year tonnes of healthy edible fish is tipped back into the sea, despite current food shortages, because of the EU’s obsession with recovering cod stocks.

More and more fishermen are going out of business because of what is now a futile attempt to preserve a species that has moved out of our waters anyway. Unless global warming is reversed and the North Sea cools down again, cod will not return to our waters.

“While I back the new proposals, the EU must end it’s obsession with cod stocks otherwise more fisherman will go out of business and we’ll continue to see tonnes of perfectly healthy fish simply tossed away.”

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