Commission acts to reduce discards in the West of Scotland
The European Commission today used emergency powers to reduce and avoid excessive discarding of haddock in the West of Scotland.
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "We will act swiftly to avoid unnecessary discards. Today's decision proves it. The situation in the fishery has changed, and the very rules that were adopted three years ago to protect the stock now threaten its sustainability. Thanks to the emergency powers, we can urgently amend the rules when the new developments require it."
The emergency measure adopted under Article 7 of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 will permit the fishermen to land the catches rather than discard fish. It will come into force with an immediate effect for 6 months initially.
Incidental catches of haddock have increased due to the recent progress in the recovery of the stock. To comply with rules on so-called "catch composition", fishermen would be forced to discard haddock for which they have a quota. Excessive discards were expected, thus threatening the stock's capacity to reproduce.
Regulatory-induced discarding, if allowed to continue, would limit and endanger the further rebuilding of the stock. Removing the haddock from the catch composition rule allows exploiting the stock rationally, prevents excessive discarding, and protects the other stocks better.
Recognising the urgency to protect the stock, the Commission has instigated emergency measures. This allows for a derogation to be enacted for 6 months initially, with the possibility to extend it for another 6 months.