European annual catch limits could be scrapped sooner than most fishing industry expect, if EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg gets his way. Ministers are now urging that the whole EU fisheries policy of annual quotas should be replaced by a days at sea allowance for each vessel - a system used successfully by countries like the Faroe islands which have a good record on conservation.
The possible changes was presented to MEPs yesterday by Mr Borg who has already announced a consultation paper on the entire Common Fisheries Policy which is expected before 2012.
If adopted, the scheme would mean the end of the hated (mainly by fishermen) practice of throwing back dead fish as discards and it would allow trawlers to catch what they liked, but within the restrictions of their allotted days at sea. In some cases up to two thirds of a haul can be thrown back.
Mr Borg told the MEPs that fishermen should be limited by 'effort' - for example limiting the number of days vessels can spend at sea or where boats can fish. 'Replacing quotas by effort can be a very effective way of reducing the environmental impact of fisheries, and in particular of discards,' he said.
The idea of change has already been welcomed by Seafish and Defra has said: “We agree that the CFP needs updating and we are looking at all the options. We will shortly be asking for the industry’s views on reforming the CFP and we welcome all contributions. Source:
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