EU discards ban will change the way we fish our seas

The Guardian

The reforms agreed this week to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) are a significant milestone, but the work to make fishing truly sustainable is far from done.

The ban on discards – the shameful practice of throwing perfectly good fish away due to quotas – is a major milestone, as is the end of the current centralised one-size-fits-all approach to decision making.

This deal is the result of more than three years of difficult negotiations, in which the UK took the lead to secure some significant reforms of what has been long seen as a fundamentally flawed CFP. My predecessor, Richard Benyon, deserves a great deal of credit for this achievement, as his perseverance during the long nights and difficult negotiations in Europe helped ensure the CFP vote passed this week.

Throughout the negotiations the government fought for a commitment to firm dates to ban discards. Now that the reformed CFP has passed its final vote a ban on discarding in ‘pelagic’ fisheries (such as mackerel and herring) will take effect on 1 January 2015 with a further ban on discards in other fisheries starting from 1 Jan 2016.

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