UK fisheries minister George Eustice has announced that from the 1st of January, British fishermen targeting demersal species including haddock, plaice and sole must land all their catches as the latest phase of the discard ban comes into force.
‘It is essential that we put an end to discarding, and the start of the demersal ban marks a significant milestone in achieving this,’ he commented.
‘We fought hard to achieve the discard ban through our reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy – it is one of the most important changes to fisheries management since the creation of the Common Fisheries Policy and is crucial to making our fishing more sustainable.’
According to the minister, to support industry and help fishermen adapt, the ban will be gradually introduced in phases, and a number of flexibilities such as more freedom to bank and borrow quota and funding for new fishing gear will be available.
He said that the UK government has secured increased quotas for the European Commission to take into account the fact that discarding should no longer be taking place, as well as exemptions from the discard ban based on the survivability species or the costs of onshore handling.
George Eustice has also announced that the funding will be available from the European Maritime and Fisheries Funding for those seeking to adapt to the discard ban to part-fund the purchase or development of more selective gear or to develop markets for fish that previously were discarded.
According to DEFRA, the government is delivering its Manifesto Commitment to support the smaller, inshore fleets and ensure sustainable stocks for the future.
‘These vessels will receive more than 1,000 tonnes of uplift to support smaller scale fishermen as they adapt to the discard ban,’ said a DEFRA announcement, commenting that the UK government fought hard to deliver a better deal for the UK fishing industry at December Council and secured significant quota increases for many species including North Sea cod and haddock, Channel plaice, Celtic Sea hake and Western Channel sole.
‘Together with careful quota management the discard ban will help us to achieve our shared ambitions of a profitable fishing industry by protecting our fish stocks for the future and safeguarding a healthy marine environment,’ said fisheries minister George Eustice.