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Ban on fishing discards moves a step closer

27 February 2013 by
Ban on fishing discards moves a step closer

A possible ban on throwing back unwanted fish or "discards" has moved a step closer after all-night talks among European Union fisheries ministers.

The ministers agreed that a ban on discards should be phased in from January next year on pelagic stocks like herring and whiting. A further ban on discards of white fish stocks will come in in January 2016.

However the proposed ban could still be blocked by the European Parliament.

There were also some exemptions - Spain, France and Portugal argued that the cost of landing unwanted fish was too high for some crews, especially those operating far from land in mixed fisheries. Those crews will be allowed to discard 9%, shrinking to 7%.

The UN says Europe has the world's worst record of throwing away fish, with almost a quarter of all catches going back overboard dead because they are not the fish the crew intended to catch, according to the BBC.

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