More measures needed to save our fish
The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is calling for the introduction of other measures to be used in conjunction with a discard ban to help reduce total fishing mortality.
Research carried out by the UK's University of East Anglia (UEA) with Cefas revealed that a ban will only help future fish stocks if it’s accompanied by “different management scenarios” such as reducing fishing effort and limiting catch quotas.
Harriet Condie, lead researcher, environmental sciences, UEA, said: “If all fish have to be landed, we will get better information on exactly how many fish of each species are being caught and the state of fish stocks. But the fact that fish can no longer be thrown back into the sea will not automatically make their exploitation any more sustainable.”
The research team combined information on landings by English trawlers in the North Sea with data on discards collected by onboard observers.
“We found that a ban combined with catch quotas has the greatest potential to incentivise more selective fishing, but only for regulated species such as cod, haddock and plaice,” she added.
The new European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which is expected to enter into force in 2014, aims to ban the wasteful practice for all quota stocks by 2019 and has already gained widespread public support.
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