MEPs vote in favour of Skagerrak discard ban
MEPs have voted to adopt a ban on discarding unwanted fish of 35 species caught in the Skagerrak (between the North Sea and the Baltic), that will take effect gradually between 2014-2016.
Under the discard ban, fishing vessels would be obliged to land all caught fish in order to halt discards – throwing unwanted fish back into the sea.
"On 1 November 2012 Norway denounced the international fisheries agreement of 1986 with the EU for the Skagerrak. Since Norway has a landing obligation for all catches, we need these new rules - but we also need them because the practice of discards is irresponsible," said Werner Kuhn (EPP, DE) after the vote.
To enforce the ban, member states would be required to set up a remote electronic monitoring system to supervise fishing in the Skagerrak, which is bound by Denmark, Sweden and Norway. For the system to work, boats over 12m long would have to be equipped with CCTV, GPS and transmitting equipment.
MEPs say that financial aid for this should be granted from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Plans to ban discards in all EU waters were backed by Parliament in a vote on the new Common Fisheries Policy in February. MEPs expect experience in the Skagerrak to provide useful lessons for this.
The new measures will apply to all EU member states which have fishing rights in the EU part of the Skagerrak, i.e. boats from Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
European Parliament negotiators will now discuss the proposal with the member states in order to reach an agreement.
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