New steps taken in support of a non- discard policy

Author: Signe Damkjaer
Date: November 23, 2011



Today , the Swedish, Danish and Norwegian fisheries ministers met with EU fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki at a seminar about the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in Stockholm. During this meeting they signed a declaration, announcing their intention to adopt a ban on discards. The prohibition for discards shall apply from 1 January 2013 according to the declaration  that the ministers Eskil Erlandsson from Sweden, Mette Gjerskov from Denmark and Lisbeth Berg- Hansen from Norway have signed. It will force fishermen to land their entire catch. Oceana welcomes this new and important step by the Scandinavian countries towards a total ban on discards.

Any initiatives to end this wasteful practice – which accounts for millions of tonnes of fish and other marine animals being dumped dead or dying back into the water each year  - are an important and necessary part of ensuring sustainability in fisheries.

“Until now, the EU has failed to properly tackle discards despite the implementation of many pilot projects to try to improve the selectivity of  fishing gear.” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. “The lack of discard management runs counter to the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy. The reform of the CFP needs to truly put an end to this wasteful practice by introducing a  discard ban for all commercially exploited species.“

Oceana believes that the implementation of a discard ban combined with a maximum acceptable by-catch requirement will establish a strong legal framework to move Europe’s fisheries policy towards a more responsible and sustainable management of fisheries. It should also go together with the implementation of a best-available technology approach to improve the selectivity of fishing gears. The ongoing reform of the CFP provides a crucial opportunity to put an end to discards and future discussions will be the key to achieve it.