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Commercial Fishing



Fishermen and conservation groups share views on fish discards. The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the UK Parliament is continuing  its inquiry into the implementation and enforcement of the EU landing obligation, or discards ban as it is widely known.

Today (5 December) it is due to hear evidence from Jim Pettipher, CEO, Coastal Producer Organisation, Jeremy Percy, Director, New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association (NUTFA), Graeme Searle, Fisherman, Graham Doswell, Fisherman, Helen McLachlan, Fisheries Programme Manager, WWF-UK, and Samuel Stone, Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Marine Conservation Society

The EU landing obligation has applied to some specific fish stocks since 2015, but from January 2019 it will apply to virtually all fish. It means fishermen will have to land all the fish they catch, rather that discarding fish they don’t want back into the sea. Fishermen are concerned about the impact this will have on their livelihoods, but conservation groups say it is key to protecting the marine environment. Questions have also been raised about the Government’s ability to enforce compliance with the landing obligation, given that it will require significant levels of at-sea monitoring.

The likely areas of questions at today’s hearing are:

  • How significant a change is the landing obligation, and why is it important?
  • What has been the impact of the landing obligation to date, and what is the likely impact when it comes fully into force in January?
  • What are the challenges posed by the landing obligation, and how might they be overcome?
  • Is the UK ready to fully implement the landing obligation in January?