Discards protest goes to Brussels

Discards protest The Dutch EMK group took its protest against the Landing Obligation to the European Parliament

Dutch fishermen have taken their outright opposition to the landing obligation to Brussels in a protest that was held yesterday outside the doors of the European Parliament.

The EMK (Eendracht Maakt Kracht) group was formed to oppose the discard ban, which is expected to hit Dutch fishermen extremely hard when it enters full force. The fishermen are particularly angered by the requirement to land undersized fish that would otherwise stand a strong chance of survival in the shallow waters where most of their fisheries take place.

A petition of more than 23,000 signatures was presented to DG Mare director Elisa Roller, with Alain Cadec, chair of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, and several MEPs present.

“This measure is totally counter-productive measure,” said EMK’s Job Schot, who is convinced that the landing obligation has been imposed on the industry without proper consultation or a proper evaluation of its potential effects.

“It’s extremely expensive to have to sort by-catches. There is no available space on fishing vessels to store the discards separately from the rest of the catch. It’s costs more money to land this fish, and when it is landed there are no handling facilities ashore.”

He stated that research has not shown that there is any benefit to fish stocks from landing these discards, which in the absence of processing facilities become landfill.

“This is yet another burden in addition to what Brexit is expected to cause. On top of that we are losing fishing grounds to wind farms and more closed areas. So we are calling on the European Parliament to bring this crazy law to an end,” Job Schot said.

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