Draft discard plans for the Atlantic

14 Oct 2015
The EC has adopted two draft discard plans for north western and south western waters of the Atlantic. Credit: Image supplied by Seafish: www.seafish.org

The EC has adopted two draft discard plans for north western and south western waters of the Atlantic. Credit: Image supplied by Seafish: www.seafish.org

The European Commission has adopted two draft plans to reduce discarding in the north western and south western waters of the Atlantic.

These plans concern demersal fisheries and are temporary measures to phase out discarding and gradually put in place the landing obligation.

“These plans are a major step forward as the fisheries concerned are very significant,” said EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella. “Landing what is caught is a start – but more importantly perhaps these plans should lead to more selective fishing, which will help stocks recover and ensure a stable income for our fishermen."

The discard plans determine which demersal fisheries in the Atlantic will be subject to the landing obligation, while also setting out certain exemptions. The first group of exemptions - called de minimis exemptions - allows discarding a small percentage of catches in fisheries where increasing the selectivity is difficult or where handling costs are disproportionately high. The second - called survivability exemption - allows discarding species that have a high chance of surviving.

The EC says that all exemptions have been set taking into account available scientific advice and following discussions with scientific advisory body STECF. Certain exemptions will be reassessed in 2016, taking into account additional supporting information from Member States.

The discard plans will apply from 1 January 2016 for a maximum period of three years, however, they may be revised to bring additional fisheries under the landing obligation.

Details of the plan for North-Western waters can be found here and for South-Western waters here.

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