European Parliament Approves Ban on Fish Discards

February 16, 2013

Members of Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of the ban.

Members of the European Parliament have approved a EU ban on fish discard. Members voted overwhelming in support of the policy with a final vote of 502–to–137.

When fishing vessels are at sea, fishermen often discard significant numbers of fish because they are below landing size or of a species unintended for catch. Many fishing vessels have initiatives that reduce fish discards, but this practice is not universal. Experts believe an end to fish discard will foster more breeding of fish, which is reasonably expected to increase future catches for fishermen.

Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, welcomed the vote because it “introduces a discard ban with clear dates to put an end to wasteful practices that we can no longer afford.”

Fishermen and stakeholders must agree on a timeframe that will allow all parties to adapt to the changing fishing practice. Visit the European Commission online for more educational resources on fish discard.