MPs refuse to ban discards

| February 25, 2012

Westminster MPs have refused to ban the controversial practice of discarding surplus fish back into the sea, a practice which results in about 1 Million tonnes of fish being thrown back each year in the North Sea alone.

Fishermen should be allowed to continue discarding edible fish at sea, despite public pressure to stop the wasteful practice according to a parliamentary select committee.

The MPs said it had not been proved how many fish died after being discarded and called for more research. Of course they will not fund it as it will take away their ability to deny on the grounds of lack of evidence.

Anne McIntosh, who chairs the committee, said: “Everyone is appalled by revelations about the levels of discarding. We heard first-hand from fishermen in Hastings how frustrating it is for them to have to throw back perfectly good cod into the sea. The commission is right to want to tackle this, but we are concerned that a kneejerk reaction to the public outcry will do more harm than good. The last thing that we want to see is unwanted fish in the sea becoming unwanted fish in landfill.”

Many companies with large-scale industrial fishing vessels are in favour of the practice as it allows them to ‘high grade’, that is throw away lower value fish and keep the most valuable in order to maximise their profits.

On the other hand, Ruth Davis of Greenpeace UK, said “Discarding is a perverse consequence of a broken policy that must be addressed in the context of wider radical reforms to the common fisheries policy. There’s a painful lack of urgency in what the committee is saying – a radical solution in 10 years’ time isn’t radical and, by then, it won’t be a solution.

Once again politicians who have the will to against their electorate have not the will to stand up to the commercial fishing lobby who want to water down or delay any measures on discards.

Category: UK Government News

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