Discard checklist planned by DAG

DAG participants attended the meeting to discuss how the UK fishing industry can plan for discard free fisheries in the future.

Mike Park, chair of DAG and executive chairman of the Scottish White Fish Producer’s Association and a Seafish board member, said: “The General Approach to CFP reform has been agreed, and whilst the timescale is not finalised for phasing out discards, we do know that a discard ban is going to be introduced. This will create a major change for the UK fishing industry and we need to start looking now at how we plan for that eventuality, and what legislative architecture needs to be in place to deliver a discards ban.”

A discard ban will come into effect in Skaggerak on 1 January 2013. Under the ban all catches must be landed, whether the fish are living, dying or dead; minimum conservation reference size will be introduced; and there will be an increase in TAC levels. In addition the use of any demersal trawl, Danish seine, beam trawl or similar towed net having a mesh size of less than 120mm (this is a change from 90mm) is prohibited. The Brussels meeting was an opportunity to find out more about the Skaggerak ban and lessons that have been learnt already.

Mr Park said that many issues have to be addressed about how to manage quota, improving selectivity, quantifying the level of discards for both commercial and non-commercial species; and creating a better evidence base of the survival rates of various species both post-escape (from the fishing gear) and post capture (discarded from the vessel).

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