EU reform will give fish to the poor

07 Nov 2011
Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Fisheries, is taking steps to ensure no more fish are discarded and thrown back into the sea Photo: © European Union 2010

Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Fisheries, is taking steps to ensure no more fish are discarded and thrown back into the sea Photo: © European Union 2010

In a recent meeting to the UK HoC Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, the EU Commissioner for Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, suggested that fish would be given to the poor instead of wasted in future.

The comment came as Commissioner Maria Damanaki discussed the issue of fish discards and its importance in the framework of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy at the meeting on 27 October.

Ms Damanaki said that in future fishermen will have to land everything they catch – and manage surplus requirement. Undersized fish and juveniles will be used for charity purposes or for fish meal. It won’t be sold because this could give fishermen an incentive to fish juveniles.

“The fish that is oversized will be used as fish for poor people – we have a charity programme to give fish to poor families”. She talked of a compensation scheme being put into place if fishermen donate fish to the programme as an incentive.

She added: “This will be difficult, but this is the only way to go forward. No more fish will be thrown back to the sea, unless it’s a species that can survive, like some sharks.”

This will come as welcome news to consumers – TV chefs such as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall have highlighted the issue of fish discards to the public more recently causing uproar.

It’s clear that if the decision is not made to stop discards, then the consumers may take the decision away from the industry.

The Common Fisheries Reform is at consultation stage and will be due for a final decision by the European Council at the end of 2012.

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