Minister hails excess fish dumping ban

 

A A A

The UK Government today hailed an EU agreement to introduce a blanket ban on dumping dead fish back in the sea.

Speaking from Brussels after marathon talks, fisheries minister Richard Benyon said: "This is a historic moment in reforming the broken Common Fisheries Policy.

"The scandal of discards has gone on for too long and I'm delighted that the UK has taken such a central role in securing this agreement.

"I am disappointed that some of the measures required to put this ban into place are no longer as ambitious as I had hoped but it's a price I am willing to accept if it means we can get the other details right.

"The final package will still need to be agreed with the EU Parliament but the result we have achieved today is another step in the right direction and will prove to be good for bothfishermen and the marine environment."

Earlier this month MEPs overwhelmingly backed the biggest-ever Common Fisheries Policy reforms, crucially including an end to so-called "discards" - a consequence of current CFP quota rules restricting the size of landed catches.

The issue galvanised wide UK support when chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a "Discards Campaign" which has so far attracted more than 850,000 signatures on a petition condemning the throwing away of perfectly edible fish to avoid breaching limits.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki - who once admitted the CFP was "broken" - says the discards system means almost one quarter of all fish caught in European waters is being dumped at sea.

Biggest resistance to fisheries reforms on the scale demanded by MEPs came from France, Portugal and Spain.

The agreement will see the discarding of edible fish banned for stocks like herring and whiting from January 2014. A ban for white fish stocks was also agreed, to begin in January 2016.

The UK also claimed to have successfully fought off attempts to include a modification in the new Common Fisheries Policy for quota swapping that would have allowed other countries access to UK quotas.

Scotland's Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead said: "This negotiation is a key milestone on the road to a discard-free Europe and delivers a compromise plan which is both realistic and workable.

"No longer will European fishermen be dumping millions of tonnes of fish overboard which is a waste of a valuable food resource to the detriment of our stocks and the industry.

"Fisheries ministers from across Europe have now given a mandate to the negotiators to reach a final deal with the EU Parliament as part of the reform of the failed Common Fisheries Policy.

"It has been a long hard road to achieve agreement towards a package that represents the regional difference across European fleets. And the negotiation was dominated by attempts of some nations to exempt certain stocks by adding in specific loopholes.

"We recognise there is still a challenge ahead for our fleet but they have already shown leadership by reducing discards over the past few years. Now there is more for them to do and a requirement for the rest of Europe to follow. We all need to work together to ensure smooth implementation."

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said: "Ministers seem to have taken care to agree upon a practical plan that would work for the fishing industry and we are pleased that a more realistic timescale for the implementation of a discards plan was agreed.

"We also welcome the provision for a degree of flexibility in the plan so as to take into account any practical difficulties in implementing the scheme.

"It was also embedded into the agreement that a ban on discards will mean that fishermen can land more fish.

"Whilst this agreement is an important first step in ensuring the practical introduction of a discards ban, it should be recognised that huge challenges remain for the industry in its implementation that will require major changes in the way that fishermen operate.

"The Scottish industry has already made heavy sacrifices in working towards this.

"We note that there has been some criticism from the green lobby on this agreement, but the compromises agreed will assist in the practical implementation of the plan and this should be welcomed.

"It is very easy to have the luxury to commentate and criticise from the outside, without actually being involved in the practical implementation of the measures."

Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall said this morning that he was pleased with the commitment to ban discards, but added that the "devil is in the detail".

"What they agreed last night is weaker and harder to enforce than the ban our MEPs in the European Parliament voted for - with a huge majority - three weeks ago," he said.

"There's now going to be weeks of negotiation to reach a final deal, and we will be fighting to strengthen those details and support our MEPs who want to see a discard ban that does the job it is supposed to."

PA

Voices
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond delivers his speech at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spring Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland April 12, 2014.
voices
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
weird newsMan live-photographs cracking of mysterious locked box on Reddit
Sport
Oliver Giroud kisses the Arsenal badge after giving the Gunners the lead
sportArsenal 3 West Ham 1: Two goals from the German striker and one piece of brilliance from Giroud puts the Gunners back above Everton
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
weird news
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
filmAs 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star James Dean perfected his moody act
News
Obesity surgery in rats has been found to change the way the body processes alcohol
news
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
artThe Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
Life & Style
US Airways has been at the centre of a Twitter storm after it responded to customer complaints with a graphic sexual image
techUS Airways takes an interesting approach to customer service
Arts & Entertainment
Philip Arditti as Yossarian and Christopher Price as Milo Minderbinder in Northern Stage's 'Catch-22'
theatre
Arts & Entertainment
The Purple Wedding: Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell tie the knot
TV The second episode of the hit series featured a surprise for viewers
Life & Style
Back to nature: women with body issues have found naked yoga sessions therapeutic
lifeDoing poses in the altogether is already big in the US, and now it’s landed here – in mixed classes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Move from Audit to Advisory

£45000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Move from Audit to Advisor...

Management Consultancy - Operational Research Analysts

£35000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...

Secondary Teaching Assistant

£60 - £70 per day: AER Teachers: THE SCHOOL: This outstanding Secondary School...

Application Support Analyst (MS SQL, java based webserver, batch scripting)

£36000 - £40000 Per Annum On call allowance.: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?