Speaking at the IIFET conference in Aberdeen, Emiel Brouckaert of Belgian PO Rederscentrale said that the Belgian fleet had already been hit by the choke species problem less six months into the year, with Areas VIIh-k already closed off to them.
‘Our sole quota was fully used up by June, so we cannot fish there at all because of the presence of fish that could end up in a net,’ he said, stating that the choke species problem must be resolved before adding any more species under the Landing Obligation can be acceptable.
‘The Landing Obligation is impossible without mitigation measures,’ he said, making the point that unless this happens there will be no reason to invest in the fishing industry. ‘All that work for no benefit? Why?’
‘There are operational issues here, and so much that needs to be resolved to make the Common Fisheries Policy work. There needs to be a survival exemption, as requiring everything to be landed means an unnecessary increase in fish mortality. So what options are there? Can we expand the inter-species flexibilities? Can we resolve the choke species problems by grouping species as Norway does with its Norway others? Can we reduce the number of TACs as there are species that do not need to be subject to a TAC?’ he asked. ‘Should article 15 of the CFP be revised?’