Clarity on discard ban welcomed

SNP President and Member of the European Parliament for Scotland, Ian Hudghton, has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee which will see new legislation put in place aimed at preventing discards.

The elimination of fish discards formed a key part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy which came into effect last year.

Existing technical legislation however was not fully compatible with the discards ban and amendments were necessary to give fishermen legal clarity.

The Fisheries Committee overwhelmingly backed a compromise package negotiated with the EU Council which will allow the ban to be rolled out over the coming years.

Mr Hudghton, who is a full member of the European Parliament’s Fisheries committee commented: “Nobody, least of all fishermen themselves, like to see good fish thrown back into the sea. The ending of fish discards is a worthy aim and initiatives which will stop the practice are generally to be welcomed.

“It has become clear however that implementation of the ban is more complicated than EU policy makers perhaps first imagined. There have been grey areas in existing legislation and this can only confuse matters for fishermen.

“The move towards legal clarity is to be welcomed but important work still needs to be done. The new CFP envisages greater regional control, in contrast to the previous one-size-fits all approach of the EU.

“It is now time for the Commission to allow national authorities to work with their own fishing industries to ensure that discards can be eliminated.”