NFFO: Time to discard Damanaki
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations (NFFO) on Monday criticized European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki following her recent visit to London, where she lobbied for drastic change to the much-maligned Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is due to be reformed by 2010.
The UK-based organization is dismayed by Damanki’s call for a “simple” ban on discarding fish at sea, including her support for Hugh’s Fish Fight campaign, as well as her proposal to systematically reduce catch limits for fisheries with “insufficient scientific data.”
If in Damanki’s recommendations are adopted, “Many thousands of additional tons of valuable and marketable fish will be discarded. This is because of the intention to slash by 25 percent all quotas on which scientific data is poor, accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the stocks on which the International Council for Exploration of the Seas provides assessments. Many of these stocks are in mixed fisheries so the fish will continue to be caught but not now landed. They will go over the side,” said the NFFO, in a press release titled “Discard Damanaki.”
“Discards are a waste of the resource and are terrible for the fishing industry’s reputation. But one statistic that has not been to the fore [is that] over the last decade the English fishing fleet has reduced its discards by 50 percent,” added the NFFO. “This is real progress that must be continued. It will not be helped by blunt gesture politics in the form of a theoretical ban. And it will certainly not be achieved if the commission continues to increase the amount of discards required by regulation.”