Sweden steps up the fight against EU-wide discards

© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell

Author: Mark Brown (Volunteer)
Date: March 27, 2012



Sweden has stepped up the fight for an EU-wide ban on discards, as rural affairs minister Eskil Erlandsson arrived in Brussels to outline his vision for an ‘ethical and fair’ fishing programme.

Discarding refers to the process whereby unwanted fish caught are thrown back into the sea because they aren’t valuable enough or quotas have already been reached. This practice sees around 1.3 million tonnes of perfectly good fish wasted each year in the EU.

Sweden, along with Denmark and Norway, has already pledged to end the practice of discarding dead fish in the Skagerrack by 1st January 2013.

Now, Sweden wants to see a discard ban implemented across the EU as part of the reform of the common fisheries policy.

Mr. Erlandsson calls for better management of marine species and more effective decision-making to ensure a fair deal for fishing communities and consumers.

He explained: “It is incredibly important to me that we get a new fishing policy that is clearly focused on sustainability and provides ethnical and fair fishing agreements with other countries, as well as providing opportunities for small coastal fishing communities.”

The Scandinavian ban includes an obligation to land all catches and promotes selective fishing gear to ensure unwanted catches are avoided. Landing all catches can help policy-makers get a better understanding of what is being caught and more effective measures can therefore be taken. But it is only a part of what a discard ban should be made up of, and Oceana would like to see much more in an EU-wide ban.

You can read Oceana’s views on discards here. What do you think? Surely it’s time to find a better way?