An End to Discards?
After a landmark meeting in Brussels today 20th March 2012, France and Spain dropped their plans to object to the call to end the process of discarding catches which were not wanted or which were already in excess of a quota being retained on board.
It has been estimated that as much as two thirds of healthy fish caught by fleets are thrown back into the sea, dead, because they are less valuable a species than those that the fisherman are trying to catch.
This is obviously in the backdrop of limited and dwindling fish stocks.
The EU Fisheries Chief Maria Damanaki had tabled proposals to end the process of discrding unwanted or less valuable fish.
Discussions today focussed on reform of the common fisheries policy and over fishing in African waters.
One of the aims of the ban on discards is intention to protect stocks when making sure that all catches are recorded.
Sweden and the UK had confirmed their support for a full ban and at the meeting, Italy also indicated their support for the proposal.
A vociferous social media campaign in the background is thought to have been partly responsible for the u-turn and it is believed that some 3 million people had signed the Fish Fight petition calling for an end to discards.
At the meeting today, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Fisheries, said that for the first time she is willing to switch from a species based approach to the bans to a fisheries based approach.
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