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Danes Want to Lead the Way in EU Fisheries Policy

Sustainability Politics +2 more

DENMARK - The Danish Fisheries Ministry says its proposal for the future of fisheries should be adopted as European Common Fisheries Policy.

For the past year, six Danish fishing boats have carried cameras to document the fishermen's catches at sea. The results of the trial give backing to the Danish proposals for the future European Common Fisheries Policy, according to the Danish Fisheries Ministry.

A report assessing the photographic trials, presented on 1 September by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), showed among other things that the fishermen kept considerably more small fish on board than previously.

Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Eva Kjer Hansen says that the results support the Danish proposals for a change from landing quotas for fish to catch quotas. The catch quota method ensures that all fish caught is counted against the quota. Writing off everything that is caught on the boat against the quota will reduce the motivation to discard small fish and induce an incentive to fish selectively.

"During these camera trials the fishermen discarded substantially fewer small edible fish, and this shows that the Danish way of doing things in the fisheries policy, with a change from quotas for fish landed to quotas for fish caught, is the right way as it will reduce discards of good fish," said Food Minister, Eva Kjer Hansen. "I believe that the results of the trial can help persuade the Commission and my European colleagues that the Danish way is the way ahead."

Ms Hansen also believes that the task now is to ensure better conditions for a selective and sustainable fishing industry.

"The next challenge facing us is ensuring the development of selective fishing techniques, so smaller fish can grow and reproduce to benefit fish stocks, the fishing industry and consumers," she said. "I do not think that the Commission's proposals for reforming the common fisheries policy are ambitious enough when it comes to giving the fishermen a strong motivation to fish selectively. Denmark take a lead to ensure the development."

The results of the camera trials will be presented at the ministers conference in Aalborg on 8 October, which will be attended by ministers and top civil servants from a number of European countries.

The reform of the common European fisheries policy must be adopted in 2012 at the latest.

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