Brussels – Greenpeace has criticised a new scheme proposed by some EU countries to tackle the mounting problem of discards, as stakeholders from the fishing industry and civil society meet in Brussels for a crucial discussion on the issue. Discarding is the wasteful practice of throwing fish overboard after they have been caught because they are of scant economic value or because quotas have been exceeded.
Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: "The practice of discarding dead or dying fish is disgraceful. We must stop throwing away perfectly good fish. All fish that are caught should be landed and counted under scientifically based quotas. But the EU cannot stop discards unless it stops destructive and indiscriminate fishing practices. It is ridiculous to reward the fishermen that discard the most with a higher catch quota unless there is an effort to shift towards more selective fishing methods. Unbelievably, destructive bottom trawlers with high levels of discards would get more out of this scheme than fishermen using sustainable fishing methods."
Dutch Factory stern trawler 'Willem van der Zwan' using pelagic trawl on the coast of West Africa.
Greenpeace believes the proposed scheme is fundamentally flawed for the following reasons:
- It relies on voluntary participation by fishermen but fails to ban discards across the board.
- It compensates fishermen that discard the most with a higher quota but does not promote the adoption of more selective fishing methods.
- It allows EU countries that participate in the scheme to exceed their quota by up to 12%.
Saskia Richartz – Greenpeace EU oceans policy director: +32 (0)495 290028 (mobile),
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications manager: +32 (0)496 156229 (mobile),