Azara Blog: EU might finally start to do something about obscene EU fishing practise

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Date published: 2007/11/21

The BBC says:

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw has agreed that dumping thousands of tonnes of dead fish back into the sea because of EU fishing quotas is "immoral".

He said he supported the view of EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg and would be pushing for quota increases.

The fishing industry has warned it faces ruin because fish caught after quotas are exceeded have to be dumped.

But environmentalists say quotas are necessary to protect stocks, and want to see a change in fishing practices.

European Union quotas strictly limit the amount of fish that vessels can bring back to port, but there is no restriction on the amount of fish they actually catch.

BBC rural affairs correspondent Jeremy Cooke found that boats fishing in the "mixed fishery" of the North Sea often accidentally catch a species or size of fish which is above their quota and have to throw the "discard" back.

The EU estimates that between 40% and 60% of fish caught by trawlers in this area is dumped back into the sea.

Mr Borg - who is instrumental in setting the laws and limits - described such discarding of fish as "immoral" but said there was no clear solution.

"The problem is when we come to work out the details of how to eliminate discarding but at the same time have sustainable fisheries - that is the big problem."
Oliver Knowles, a campaigner for Greenpeace, also believes quotas are not working for the UK's mixed fisheries.

He says the only answer is to stop fishing altogether in 40% of the world's oceans.

"Most importantly, I think you have got to create marine reserves. We don't have any proper protection for the marine environment.

"We are talking about a very large scale - about 40% - and Greenpeace isn't alone in calling for protected areas at around that size."

How surprising, Greenpeace, and other so-called environmentalists, are calling for huge marine reserves, at no cost to themselves, and at substantive cost to others. What brave and honourable souls they are. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the EU had better figure out a sensible way to stop this appalling waste of fish. In effect, the fishing industry seems to be catching twice as much fish as stated in the quota, and so half of it has to be junked. How obscene can you get.

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