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NFFO Questions EC Policies

Sustainability Politics +2 more

UK - The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) is questioning European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki's, policy making in accordance with her stated 'full support' of a discards ban.

Disscussing Ms Damanaki's recent speech for World Oceans Day Forum in London, the NFFO states: “You have to admire Commissioner Damanaki’s sheer political skill and audacity in putting herself at the head of a crusade to end the discarding of fish in European waters.”

“She has deftly shifted the focus of hostile media attention arising from Hugh’s Fish Fight away from the European Commission and onto member states and the fishing industry by advocating a simple ban on discards.”

Although Ms Damanaki's decision to bring a discard ban into force seems a positive step, the NFFO have noted that some of Ms Damanaki's decisions are contradictory to one another, leading them to question whether she is true to a discard ban or not.

For example, in her published “Communication”, on how the Commission intends to approach its proposals for fishing quotas in 2012, the proposals set out mean that, if they were followed through, the result would be a huge increase in the amount of discards.

Commenting on this, the NFFO states: “Many thousands of additional tonnes of valuable and marketable fish will be discarded. This is because of the intention to slash by 25 per cent all quotas on which scientific data is poor – accounting for perhaps 60 per cent of the stocks on which the International Council for Exploration of the Seas provides assessments."

"Many of these stocks are in mixed fisheries so the fish will continue to be caught – but not now landed. They will go over the side.”

Although discarding is still a huge problem, the NFFO has highlight the fact that no one has praised the English fishing fleet who, over the last ten years, have reduced their discards by 50 per cent.

“This is real progress that must be continued. It will not be helped by blunt gesture politics in the form of a theoretical ban. And it will certainly not be achieved if the Commission continues to increase the amount of discards required by regulation,” the NFFO concludes.