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Has the EU's fish discard ban worked? Lords Committee to ask the fishing industry

On Wednesday 8th May, the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee will take evidence from fishing organisations and the British Ports Association on the impact of the EU landing obligation.

The EU landing obligation seeks to gradually eliminate discarding (throwing unwanted fish back into the sea) by requiring all catches of specified types of fish to be landed. The EU agreed to legislation in 2013 that would require fishers to land everything they caught. The rules have been slowly phased in since 2015 and came into force in full on 1 January 2019.

When the Committee examined the issue in November and December 2018, they found little evidence of the landing obligation being followed and an almost unanimous view that the UK was not ready for full implementation, despite the long lead in time.

The sub-Committee will now follow up on the concerns raised during its inquiry and ask the attendees what impact the landing obligation has had, if any, since it came into force in full in January 2019.

The evidence session will begin at 10:30am in Committee room 2 of the House of Lords. The Committee will hear evidence from:

  • Barrie Deas, CEO, National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations
  • Bertie Armstrong, CEO, Scottish Fishermens Federation
  • Jim Pettipher, CEO, Coastal Producer Organisation
  • Jeremy Percy, Director, New Under Ten Fishermen's Association
  • Pete Bromley, Harbourmaster at Sutton Harbour, British Ports Association

Topics likely to be covered during the session include:

  • Whether fishers are complying with the new rules.
  • Whether the industry's concern that the new rules would result in people quickly running out quota (and so having to stop fishing) have been realised.
  • Whether ports have seen significant amounts of additional fish landed, that would previously have been discarded.
  • Whether fish buyers and retailers are asking for proof that the new rules are being compiled with.

Read the Committee's report Fisheries: implementation and enforcement of the EU landing obligation here.

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