Oceana considers the delay of discard ban in fisheries was a failure. (Photo: Oceana/Jesus Renedo)
Environmentalists’ disappointment about the decision for discards
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
The coalition Ocean2012 considered the agreement reached by the Ministers of Fisheries of the European Union (EU) to delay the end of fishing discards and to defer the goal of maximum sustainable yield (MSY) of resources beyond 2015 was a "failure".
Markus Knigge, advisor to Ocean2012, echoed this stating: "EU fisheries ministers have continued their record of mismanagement by delaying the ending of overfishing in the EU and by its fleet globally."
After the negotiations conducted in Luxemburg, Ocean2012 asked the European Parliament (EP) to support a new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that delivers “a healthy marine environment and viable fisheries dependent communities.”
Different European sources warned that the difficulties in negotiations imply a delay in the enforcement of the CFP reform, which should take place in 2013, the agency Europa Press reported.
Following the strong opposition from a group of nations, led by Spain and France, to the proposal for a radical change in the CFP, which would allow an immediate ban on discards and would force fishermen to land all their catch in port, the Council decided to adjust them on a case by case basis to suit each fishery.
The marine conservation organization Oceana also expressed regret for the decisions taken.
The NGO considered it was "highly disappointing" that the EU fisheries ministers have agreed to negotiate a CFP reform that delays the discard ban and that defers the MSY goal.
"Although it is highly disappointing, especially as to the discard ban, it is the best result that we could realistically expect from the Fisheries Council," said Oceana CEO, Xavier Pastor.
"The need to change fisheries management is not questioned but it is simply admitted that it is not the right time to do it now," he added.
Oceana required the EU Parliament to lead and do what is in their power to "carry out the necessary changes immediately."
Furthermore, the entity warned that if the objective of taking all the resources to their MSY beyond 2015, the EU will not meet the assumed legally binding obligation for European waters to have a good environmental status in 2020.
MEP for Initiative for Catalunya-Verds and vice president of the Greens in the EU Parliament, Raül Romeva, described the actions of the ministers of the 27 Member States as "scandalous".
"The Council supports the continuation of a policy of industrial fisheries based on overfishing and the consequent lack of profitability. With this decision what is achieved is the acceleration of the extinction of fish stocks and the incapacity for the industry to become economically viable and independent from public support," the MEP expressed.
Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner of Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, showed willingness to seek solutions to the issues the discard ban poses to Spain, France and Ireland, among other countries. And she acknowledged that there "is still a lot to be done," the newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.
The fleets of these nations capture several species at a time and it is impossible to capture them individually, so one of the possibilities is to implement "interim measures" to promote selective fishing, Damanaki explained.
- France and Spain, in favour of flexibility of deadlines for eliminating discards
- Agreement reached on discards, MSY
- Fisheries ministers to tackle discards ban this week
By Analia Murias