Commissioner Maria Damanaki welcomes European Parliament support to ban discarding in the Skaggerak
The European Parliament voted on Tuesday to adopt a ban on discarding unwanted fish of 35 species caught in the Skagerrak (the strait running between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark). Under the discard ban, fishing vessels would be obliged to land all caught fish in order to halt "discards" – the practice of throwing fish back into the sea, usually because they are of an unwanted species or size.
Commissioner Damanaki welcomed the European Parliament vote: "Stopping the wasteful practice of discarding edible fish is one of the key elements of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The support that the European Parliament is giving to the proposal that the Commission tabled last summer for a discard ban in the Skaggerak is important as it helps us to convince those who still question the feasibility of a discard ban within a precise timeframe."
According the proposal, the EU and Norway are to harmonize fisheries technical and control measures to ensure long-term sustainability of fish stocks. It will include an obligation to land all catches of certain fish species – to stop the practice of discarding. The new measures will apply to all EU Member States having fishing rights in the Skagerrak: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Commission believes that Member States should be granted flexibility on how they monitor compliance with the discard ban.
European Parliament negotiators will now discuss the proposal with the member states in order to reach an agreement. Once adopted, the ban would take effect gradually between 2014 and 2016.