Ritchie welcomes ban on practice of discarding fish
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has given a ‘cautious’ welcome to the EU’s move to ban the practice of discarding fish from fishing vessels.
Speaking following the meeting of the Westminster EFRA committee she stated, “The practice of discards and the associated waste was a scandal and one that was partially driven by an ineffective quota regime under the Common Fisheries Policy.
“This agreement will see the discarding of edible fish banned for stocks including herring and whiting from January 2014.
“It is encouraging that there has been recognition that there is a need for a workable timescale for implementing the measures and that there will be a degree of flexibility with the new arrangements.
“It is worth recognising that in recent years fishing fleets in my own constituency, in Ardglass and Kilkeel, have made many improvements to gear in order to reduce their wasted catch as much as possible and that fishermen dislike having to waste catch as much as the public.
Ritchie added, “While this decision sets out a clear pathway towards ending discards, which is to be welcomed, the Commission must be clear on the specifics and on how fishing fleets will be supported in implementing the measures.
“The Commission have accepted that there needs to be consideration given to different survival rates between species for discarded fish and they need to ensure that they clarify this based on the available scientific evidence.”
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