MEPs vote to stop fish discard

MEPs have voted in favour of a timetable aimed at stopping crews discarding unwanted fish.

The bill was passed during a debate in Brussels last week and will be rolled out from next year.

Paul Joy, chairman of Hastings Fisherman’s Protection Society, said he believed it is a step in the right direction for local fishermen.

But he is not sure how fishermen will make more money unless they are allowed to catch and land more fish.

The Hastings fleet is currently only allowed to catch 125 kilogrammes of cod a month per boat, which equates to one or two cod a day.

Paul, a fisherman for 43 years, said: “It is a step in the right direction but I can not see how we’re going to improve our incomes unless given more quotas.

“We don’t want to bring dead fish ashore because it can only go for fishmeal and we can’t make a living out of that.

“But the EU is now telling the Government to look after a sustainable fishing community and to be aware of the social and economic values.

“In 2006 each boat could land up to three tonnes a month of cod during the winter months.”

The Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science has said the stocks have improved yet our quota goes down every year.”

Catherine Bearder, MEP for the South East, was one of those who voted in favour.

She said: “This is a historic opportunity for EU fisheries ministers to prove changes can be made.

“Governments must now step up and save inshore fishing.”