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Commercial Fishing



Evidence on discard ban compliance – Today, 22nd May, the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee will take evidence on discard ban compliance from the bodies responsible for enforcing fisheries legislation in England and Scotland.

The Committee will ask the enforcement agencies what steps they are taking to ensure compliance with the landing obligation and what challenges they face. They are also likely to ask whether the agencies believe the new rules are being fully complied with, and whether they have sufficient resources to detect non-compliance.

Questions likely to be covered during the session include:

  • How many cases of non-compliance have been detected since 1 January this year and what penalties have been awarded?
  • What steps have been put in place to monitor compliance with the landing obligation?
  • How much fish that is suitable for human consumption but over a fisher’s quota has been landed since January?
  • Are there concerns about the extent of the exemptions to the landing obligation, particularly from a conservation point of view?



Discarding is the practice of returning unwanted catches to the sea, either dead or alive, because they are undersized, due to market demand, the fisherman has no quota or because catch composition rules impose this. The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of 2013 aims at gradually eliminating the wasteful practice of discarding through the introduction of the landing obligation. This radical change in fisheries management aims to improve fishing behaviour through improvements in selectivity.

The CFP seeks to phase in the implementation of the landing obligation from 2015 through to 2019 for all commercial fisheries (species under TACs, or under minimum sizes) in European waters and for European vessels fishing in the high seas. This gradual approach is to support the fishing industry in its adaptation to significant changes in fisheries management and practices (e.g. from a system recording only the landed fraction of the catch to a system recording the entire catch).