According to a international study led by the University of Queensland, sea birds, dolphins, crabs and sharks are among the species that could suffer if commercial fishers abruptly stop discarding their unwanted catches, research shows. The recommendation is for a gradual reduction of food discards to a minimal level.
With the introduction of the landing obligation for demersal species being phased in between now and 2019, the intentions contrast starkly with the reality, and Paul Trebilcock, chief executive if the Cornish FPO, says that several brand-new discards have been brought into existence.
A seminar organised by the European Commission in Brussels this week brought together national and European policymakers, scientists, fishing industry representatives and other stakeholders to discuss first experiences with the implementation of the landing obligation. Speakers focused on lessons learnt and next steps.
The abundance of haddock off the south-west of England and the shortage of quota are causing huge difficulties for fishermen across the region who are forced to dump fish they are not able to avoid catching.
Juan Carlos Corrás of La Coruña PO Pescagalicia-Arpega predicts that the discard ban will hit the trawl fleet hardest.
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.