The Committee supported a discards ban in its 2008 report The Progress of the Common Fisheries Policy. In that report the Committee stressed the importance of ensuring a ban was accompanied by reformed economic incentives for fishermen to ensure wastage at sea did not simply become wastage on land when boats return to harbour with fish that the market will not purchase.
The session with Mr Benyon will be the first of the Committee’s follow-up inquiry and will cover the latest negotiations between EU Fisheries Ministers and the European Parliament, and what legal measures need to be introduced to enforce a discards ban. The Committee will also ask Mr Benyon how the government intends to work with the European Commission and other Member States to ensure the ban is enforced throughout the EU.
The evidence session with Mr Benyon will start 11am on Wednesday 5 June in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.
Commenting ahead of the evidence session Baroness Scott, Chair of the Lords EU Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment and Energy, said:
“We all know that declining fish stocks are a real concern and that reform to the Commons Fisheries Policy is needed to ensure our seas do not become barren. Recent campaigns suggest the public oppose the widespread practice of discarding unwanted fish back into the sea and our 2008 report supported calls for a discard ban.
“However if a ban is to work it needs to take into account the economic incentives for fishermen. We also need more clarity on how a discard ban would be enforced. Our short inquiry will provide an independent assessment of the proposed reforms and our evidence session with Richard Benyon will be important in helping us understand the government’s position”