Fish campaigners win EU ‘discard’ vote

Fish pictures 037 mcNew measures to stop ‘discards’ (the process of throwing overboard unwanted fish, frequently dead or dying, back into sea), allied to a commitment to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels, were agreed at a full session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today.

A campaign led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who has presented MEPs with a petition of over 800,000 signatures, called for serious reform of the CFP (Common Fisheries Policy) that ended discards and made European fishing sustainable.

Linda McAvan MEP, who speaks for all Labour MEPs on fishing, said “all Labour MEPs supported today’s changes. We’re thrilled.”

“It’s estimated that over a million tons of discarded fish have been dumped back in to our seas which is a shocking and wasteful reality,” she said.

“With over 60% of fish stocks being overfished, there’s a real danger that the amount of fish available for the dinner tables will be depleted in the not too distant future.

West Midlands Labour MEP Michael Cashman also welcomed the measures:

“I know from my constituency mailbag that many people from the land locked West Midlands want to see a real change in how we manage our fisheries. With luck, today’s vote means we can now deliver that change.

“The people have spoken. Now its time for the governments of the UK and other member states EU to back the changes we agreed on.” he said.

Today’s vote marks the beginning of a period of negotiations between MEPs and Ministers from the EU’s 27 member states in the European Council. Final approval of the new fisheries policy is expected later this year

For the first time in the history of the Common Fisheries Policy, MEPs in the European Parliament now have an equal say to Government Ministers in the Council on fisheries policy