EU fails to land fish discard ban deal
Discussions between EU fisheries ministers continued late last night in Brussels, amid disagreement among member states about how far a proposed ban on fish discards should go.
The meeting, which was chaired by Irish fisheries minister Simon Coveney, sought to reach consensus among European Council member states on the issue, after the European Parliament’s decision this month to propose a complete ban on the process of discarding fish at sea.
Once the European Council secures a negotiating mandate from members, it will commence negotiations with the European Parliament.
While the European Parliament has proposed a complete ban on discards, France, Portugal and Spain among others oppose this.
Discards is one strand of the EU’s common fisheries policy which is under reform. Ireland hopes to secure agreement on the new policy during its presidency of the European Council, with the new fisheries package expected to take effect next year.
An estimated 25 per cent of all fish caught by EU states are discarded, with the percentage of discards believed to be as high as 50 per cent in some areas.
Mr Coveney said the negotiations were “difficult”, but there was a collective view that countries want the “obligation to land”, which would oblige fishermen to land all fish caught.