Fish discards from a fishing vessel. (Photo: Greenpeace)
The discard policy 'is a big challenge' for EU fishermen
Wednesday, April 09, 2014, 04:10 (GMT + 9)
Spanish fishing industry representatives raised the need for new consistent technical measures and a control system provided to ensure the success of the new landing obligation intended to avoid fish discards to the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament.
"The implementation of the new discard policy is a great challenge for the fishermen of the European Union (EU)," stated the vice president of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (Cepesca), Juan Manuel Liria.
"At present, the sector only has uncertainties because we do not know how the new total allowable catches (TACs) are going to be set, how the discard and regionalization plans are going to be designed, and how the flexibility mechanisms under the EU regulation are going to be implemented," added the leader.
Therefore, he stressed the need for "the application to be progressive and flexible to be gradually adapted and without harsh sanctions."
To Cepesca, the common fisheries policy (CFP) has been delayed for 20 years as to the implementation of policies to prevent discards by an unbalanced and inflexible allocation of quotas. Therefore, achieving the elimination of discards means a balanced distribution of fishing possibilities.
During the hearing on the new discards policy organized by the EP Fisheries Committee, Liria explained that the EC proposal aims to help meet the requirement to unload all catches of species subject to TACs and quotas, and those having minimum sizes.
However, Cepesca argues that this is not a solution, but it only corrects CFP regulatory contradictions that force fishermen to discard.
"The priority must be on a good implementation disregarding a false sense of urgency and intending to value the impact of the measure" at all levels – social, economic and environmental -- with the aim of facilitating the removal of discards 'to benefit all,'" said Cepesca Vice President.
In this situation, Cepesca proposes to streamline the processing of new technical measures that will not be ready before the entry into force of the landing obligation in 2015 "due to the slow pace of the EU legislative co- decision process."
Liria insisted that the obligation to land is a quick but not very effective solution that lacks a sector impact assessment and called for a flexible and progressive implementation while it is tested.
Besides, he also stated that "discards regional plans developed from the bottom up are necessary to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement."
- Fisheries organizations warn of discard policy impact
By Analia Murias