Damanaki: Time to end ‘nightmare of discards’

European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki is pledging to put an end to “this nightmare of discards” as part the EU’s new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), slated for reform in 2012.

“We can’t go on like this,” Damanaki told Britain’s Guardian newspaper on Thursday. “We need a new policy.”

Damanaki’s comments came in response to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign. The initiative, which included a TV program on Britain’s Channel 4 earlier this month that drew a lot of interest from both seafood professionals and consumers, aims to end the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea, among other things. As much as two-thirds of the fish caught in some European waters is thrown back as a result of the EU’s current fisheries management system.

“I am very optimistic [that the proposals will go ahead] as I know there is public support,” said Damanaki. “The UK in particular has been a champion on this issue, and across Europe there is growing awareness.”

But Damanaki acknowledge that the transition to a new CFP won’t be easy. “There have to be some painful changes,” she said. “Our current policy of short termism is not sustainable. We know that one-third of our fish species are over-exploited.”


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