As coalition of states calls for discards ban, Spain wants more discussion

Denmark, France, Germany and the UK yesterday supported Commissioner Maria Damanaki in her call for a ban on discards.

Maria Damanaki was very clear about her view when she spoke to fisheries ministers yesterday: the EU needs a ban on discards. Continuing with only the technical measures tried so far “is like treating a serious illness with Aspirin,” she said.

Denmark, France, Germany and the UK stood firmly behind the Commissioner as they yesterday signed a joint declaration in which they call for a system of “genuine catch quotas”, where all landed fish is counted against quotas. The four states are convinced this “will trigger innovations in improving the selectivity of fishing gear,” they wrote.

While the coalition of states already seem convinced that a discard ban is needed, some states had another response. Spanish Fisheries Minister Rosa Aguilar said that she would call a meeting with the fisheries industry and NGOs to discuss the proposal on a discards ban.

“The industry should rest assured that we will be working with them and not against them,” she said, according to abc.es.

Much of the discussion yesterday revolved around whether to go for a catch quota system, reported to be supported by most member states attending the meeting, or an effort management system, mainly backed by Spain.

Under an effort management system, days at sea are restricted. The compliance with days spent at sea is easy to control, but fears are that such a system will be less sustainable as it will spur technological innovation that increases the amount of fish that can be caught during a limited number of days.

The Telegraph quotes UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon saying that there is a need to create a market for the species of discarded fish or “set up a scheme by which the government buys up the landed catch which nobody wants, using it as fish-meal.”

Axel Naver

Read more:
Speech by Commissioner Damanaki at the High Level Meeting on banning discards (EU Commission)
Joint Declaration on Discards under a Reformed Common Fisheries Policy (Denmark, France, Germany, UK)
Declarationes de la ministra Rosa Aguilar tras la conferencia ministerial para la reducción de descartes en pesca que se ha celebrado en bruselas (Spanish government)

Other news stories:
Fishermen to be banned from dumping dead fish in sea under EU plans (The Telegraph)
Aguilar tratará con el sector y ONG las medidas contra los descartes en pesca (abc.es)
Bruxelles veut bannir les rejets en mer de poissons morts (20minutes.fr)

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