How effective is the landing obligation in tackling the wasteful discarding of fish? Lords to investigate

15 November 2018

The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee today launches a new inquiry into the implementation of the EU landing obligation which aims to reduce the practice of throwing unwanted fish back into the sea.

An average 1.7 million tonnes of fish and other marine life used to be discarded in the EU each year because it was unmarketable, unprofitable, exceeded the amount of fish allowed to be caught or was otherwise unwanted. The EU landing obligation seeks to gradually eliminate discards by requiring all catches of specified types of fish to be “landed” and will be fully implemented by 2019.

It is hoped that fishermen will use more selective fishing practices to ensure they more effectively target the stocks they want to catch. However, it is a radical change in fisheries management and poses significant challenges for the fishing industry, policy makers and enforcement agencies.

The inquiry will consider what impact the implementation of the landing obligation has had to date, and how effectively it has been enforced, as well as the issues that are expected to arise from full implementation in January 2019. Members will seek evidence on what the EU, the UK Government and the fishing industry could do to address the challenges posed by implementation, and on how the UK compares to other EU Member States.

Written evidence can be submitted online using the form found here. The deadline is 11:59pm on Thursday 13 December 2018.

Lord Teverson, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“Reducing discards is vital to protecting the health of our oceans. Discarding is not only a waste of finite resource, as many fish do not survive, it also makes it difficult to accurately measure how many fish are actually caught.  The landing obligation requires a shift in how we monitor and enforce fishing regulations but there is a lack of clarity within the industry over its implementation and how its requirements will be managed.

“The Committee want to understand the challenges that will need to be overcome, and potential solutions to those challenges. We would really encourage those with experience or interest in these issues to share their views with us.”

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