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EU and Norway Reaffirm Determination on Discards

EU - At a meeting in Brussels today of scientists, administrators and control experts from the EU and Norway there was general agreement on the urgent need to consider concrete measures at the earliest opportunity, such as real-time closures and improved gear selectivity, to tackle the problem of discards in the North Sea.

Whilst both parties have agreed that it is very difficult to entirely eliminate discarding, they have nevertheless recognised that the huge current waste of valuable food resources cannot be allowed to continue.

Some of these measures to address this problem discussed at the meeting are currently being tested by individual EU Member States. The EU has already proposed a new regulation on the types of fishing gear which would be allowed in the North Sea. This regulation would simplify existing measures and improve the escapement of young fish.

"Discarding means a waste of great quantities of valuable fish. It is a major environmental scandal that we must strongly tackle," said European Commissioner responsible for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Joe Borg. "I am very pleased at the good technical groundwork which has been developed during today's discussions. I believe this will allow the EU and Norway to decide jointly upon effective measures to reduce discarding by our fishermen as soon as possible. Discussions with our Norwegian partners have been extremely constructive and have led to a positive result."