By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 27 February, 2013
The European fisheries sector is speaking out in favor of a new agreement by the European Union to ban discards, but leaders of the sector indicated more needs to be done to address the issue.
According to published reports, the E.U. Council, after a marathon of talks, agreed to support the discard ban that was a key provision of a newly-revamped common fisheries policy (CFP).
“We take note of the important step that has been reached by the establishment of a gradual timetable for the progressive implementation of the discard ban and by the introduction of management tools to help the fishing industry to adapt to the obligation to land all catches,” Europêche and Copa-Cogeca, groups representing fisheries from 17 E.U. member states, including the U.K., France, Spain and Belgium, said in a joint release.
The European Parliament voted on 6 February to approve the CFP reforms, and the council’s decision helps cement the new regulations. Among the new rules, fishermen will now be required to land all fish caught, with none discarded, but they will be granted leeway on existing quotas so that they can adjust over time to the new approach. There will be a 9 percent exemption from quotas for the first two years, falling to 8 percent in the next two and finally 7 percent, while some quotas may be transferable.
The groups, while supporting the measure, added that “there are still many outstanding issues to be resolved, particularly for the practical implementation of a discard ban across Europe and its consequences both onboard of vessels (storage capacity) and onshore (fish processing facilities).”
Both organizations said they look forward to ongoing discussions of the issue.