Fish Discards

  Quickbeam 06:39 01 Mar 2011
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Could be ended soon click here

What's the most unbelievable thing about this waste of food in a hungry world, is that we've tolerated it for years before the Brussels bigwigs think to question it.

  morddwyd 06:56 01 Mar 2011

It could also be the end of many fishermen.

If they are forced to land fish, which they can't sell, but which counts against their already limited landing quota, many of them will go out of business.

Fishermen have been protesting about discards for years.

It's Brussels who have been tolerating it, and it is the Norwegians, who are not members of the EU, who have finally forced people to take notice.

  Forum Editor 18:47 01 Mar 2011

there are various and conflicting points of view, which is why delegates from EU member states are to be consulted before a final plan is drawn up.

Somehow an answer to this problem has to be found - it makes no sense at all for over-quota fish to be thrown back into the sea.

  MAJ 19:51 01 Mar 2011

Fishing (which is very close to my heart) on an industrial scale (which isn't) is what is called a robber economy, I remember my old geography teacher talking about it in the seventies. Until this type of fishing is either properly curtailed or stopped altogether, fish stocks will decrease to an unsustainable level and the EU's quotas wont do it by themselves.

morddwyd: "It could also be the end of many fishermen"

So be it, the fishermen themselves know what they are doing is wrong, but the shilling is more powerful.

  peter99co 22:24 01 Mar 2011

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said reforming the system would work for fishermen, not against them.

"Fishermen in Scotland and everywhere else want to be able to land and sell pretty much all the fish they catch," he told the BBC.

"We're talking about millions of tonnes of prime cod, haddock and coly - the bulk of the discard is prime catch that's over quota, and that has to stop.

"The long-term aim is to enable fishermen to land more fish, not less."

Ms Damanaki also reassured fishermen that there would not be an end to their livelihoods.

  Forum Editor 23:04 01 Mar 2011

reforming the system would work for fishermen, not against them."


With great respect to Hugh, just because he says something it doesn't mean he's right. He's a cook, and a very good one (I've been to River cottage and tasted his food), but the issues involved are pretty complicated - what suits one area isn't necessarily the answer for all.

On the face of it discarding dead or dying fish that have already been netted, just because they take a vessel over its quota is madness, but let's see what the consensus is when the EU representatives meet. I certainly don't know nearly enough to make a judgement, and perhaps Hugh is right.

  Quickbeam 07:20 02 Mar 2011

Can it ever be right to discard a fish that's doomed as soon as it's netted?

  morddwyd 07:52 02 Mar 2011

It's not just over quota fish that are involved.

A large proportion is undersized fish, which would not be bought by buyers anyway.

Over quota fish is largely a bycatch, in other words a fisherman is fishing for haddock, for which he has a quota, but nets a lot of cod, where his quota is full.

No fisherman deliberately sets out to fish stuff he can't land.

However, if he's fishing within quota and gets a lot of undersized fish, having to land them and set it against his quota, while being unable to sell them, is a road to ruin.

The fishermen's' federation wishes to modify the size of the nets to prevent this happening (among other measures), but the EU won't allow it.

They could go unilaterally, of course, but this would set them at a serious disadvantage against, say, the French and the Spanish, both with large fishing fleets.

  peter99co 17:39 02 Mar 2011

The bulk of the discard is prime catch that's over quota, and that has to stop.

  jakimo 18:03 02 Mar 2011

For the very latest report
click here

  Forum Editor 18:18 02 Mar 2011

which would not be bought by buyers anyway."

Actually the bulk of the discard is perfectly saleable, which is why there's a need for a revision of the rules. If a vessel is fishing for Haddock it should be allowed to land cod, rather than throwing it (dead) over the side.

In some EU waters fishermen are discarding up to 80% of their sole and plaice catch. It makes no sense at all.

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