Monday, 24 August 2015

This should have been done long ago

One immediate outcome of the so-called CFP reforms has been an increase in the discards, something that most fishermen and consumers would like to reduce to an absolute minimum. Of course, it is very difficult to do this if decisions are taken centrally for political reasons.

From the beginning of the year, boats had to start landing unwanted fish which were caught in their nets.

Incidents of throwing dead fish back into the sea had increased due to strict EU quotas on which fish could be landed in a bid to conserve stocks.

Not quite what the supporters of the CFP have been boasting about.

For quite a long time now (by that we mean some years of not decades) fishermen have been talking about the need to change fishing net designs to ensure that the fish caught was not the kind that had to be discarded. Had the UK been in charge of her own fishing industry with genuine devolution of decisions to regions, such changes could have been carried out a long time ago. As it is we had to wait for the EU and the 28 members of the common fisheries policy (some of whom carry out no sea fishing at all) to decide on this matter.

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation (SFF) has now received funding for trials of design modifications.

The money is from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and Marine Scotland.

The first phase will run from now until the end of the year and aims to have sea-trials of new designs of nets.

No doubt this slow and belated attempt will also be promoted as a great achievement of the CFP and of the so-called reforms.


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