Discards negate sustainability.

| November 5, 2008

88% of EU fisheries stocks  are overfished compared with 25% globally.

At the same time EU fisheries ministers are failing to address discards - a recent legislative initiative against discarding announced by the Commission was defeated by the catching sector lobby of certain member countries.

One third of the North Sea catch - a million tonnes of fish and sea creatures is discarded annually according to a WWF study “Sea Creatures Are Not Rubbish” - pdf here (in German).

Discards occur when boats dispose of fish they catch but cannot land or derive income from, or when they catch more fish than they are allowed to land, or when they discard less valuable fish to make more space for more valuable fish. 

The report gives as an example Dover sole, where there are six kilos of sea creatures discarded for every kilo in the fishmongers; for langoustine it’s five kilos for each kilo.

Although Scotland’s minister Lochhead and representatives of the catching sector claim to be making ‘groundbreaking’ progress in addressing the issues associated with commercial targets such as cod, they, like all EU ministers are doing nothing to address the discarding of inshore species that are too small, or of no commercial value or have no catch quota.

Discarding exacerbates the overfishing of stocks and both combined will eventually deplete the oceans of fish supply.

Marine biodiversity is being destroyed by the parochial interest of the catching sector and the inability of politicians to take the long view and make the hard decisions.

Category: Conservation, EU Government News, SSACN Announcements

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