1.3 Million tons of wasted fish a year: What’s being done about it?

Author: Angela Pauly
Date: March 2, 2011



1.3 Million Tons – That’s how many marine fish (and other organisms) are discarded and dumped overboard (dead most often than not) by EU fishermen every year.

OCEANA discardsThe amount of waste, which represents 13% of the total catch, is difficult to fathom, and even more so at a time when we are fighting so hard to end overfishing and push for sustainable fisheries.

The discard issue has rightfully been all over the news in the past few weeks – from Hugh’s fish fight to  concerns over how a ban on discards would affect the industry.

Following a lot of pressure, the European Commission is finally moving to shut down this unacceptable side effect of Europe’s fisheries policy. Yesterday, Commissioner Damanaki announced her intention to completely ban discards by 2013. There is no concrete plan in place, but here is what we would like to see in it:

  • Establishing Maximum Allowable By-catch limits;
  • Obliging the landing of all catch;
  • Improving the selectivity of fishing gears;
  • Establishing spatial and temporal area closures;
  • Establishing mechanisms for effective controls and sanctions; and
  • Promoting the economic value of by-catch.

For more information on by-catch and discards take a look at our website here.

To read our position on by-catch and discard management click here.