North Sea Ministers agree declaration against discards

Fisheries Ministers from the UK, Denmark, Norway and Scotland Fisheries have agreed a joint declaration calling for action to reduce and eliminate discards.

Meeting at Ardoe House in Aberdeen, the Ministers agreed the 7 point “Ardoe Declaration”. The Declaration states “that management approaches based on the reduction or elimination of discards can provide benefits to stocks and to the industry” and encourages “progress towards the introduction of a discard ban primarily for cod and associated species throughout the North Sea and beyond”.

The Declaration also calls for increased regionalisation of fisheries management “in any future governance framework”, a clear message to the Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, who was presented with the Declaration. The European Commission is preparing to begin drafting the proposal for the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The Ministers, officials from North Sea countries and EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, were meeting to discuss greater regionalisation of fisheries management and how to tackle discards (the throwing back into the sea of unwanted fish, dead or dying).

Mr Lochhead commented after the summit: “The CFP, with its rigid centralised approach, has enforced the nonsensical practice on our fishermen of dumping valuable fish, dead, back in the sea. Today’s conference of northern fishing nations has presented a united front to press for real change across the North Sea region and beyond.

Scottish Government press release and text of declaration

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