EUROPEAN Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki has announced that the first hurdle towards ending the practice of fish discards has now been surmounted.
She told Fishupdate that the emphasis from now on would now focus on putting an alternative proposal into practice.
She said: "At last week's Council meeting, EU Ministers had a first debate on different aspects of the proposal for reforming the Common Fisheries Policy, ranging from the discards ban to the role of Producers Organisations and labelling, from the external dimension of the CFP to the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
"What we have done - and this is a great step forward - is that we have agreed between ourselves that we need the discard ban. From now on, we are going to focus on how and when we're going to achieve it."
The Commissioner was speaking after she also took part in an earlier "Save the Mediterranean and its biodiversity" event.
Again the issue of discards was brought up and she said: "Here I would like to clear up one misconception about our proposed discard ban. I have heard many times that we risk having truckloads of juvenile fish being transported to fishmeal factories. This is not my intention. It is clear that we cannot eliminate discards just by introducing an obligation to land everything.
"What we have to do is to fish more selectively as the first step and we have funding available already now under the current fund to switch to more selective gears, and more support is foreseen in the new Fund. So this is what it is about: avoid catching juveniles in the first place. It would then only be the minimum amount of juveniles that would go to fishmeal reduction."
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