Environment: Fish quota system to be overhauled
2 March 2011
“Europe to ban 'discarding' of unwanted fish,” headlines the Guardian, after EU fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, called for an end to the “unethical” practice of throwing unwanted fish back into the sea. “Fishermen are driven to discard fish under the current quota systems because they can only legally bring home a certain quantity of the species they are allocated,” the London daily explains. “When they catch too many, or accidentally net fish for which they do not have a quota, they must dump the excess. As a result, as much as two-thirds of the fish caught in some areas are thrown back into the water, usually dead. About 1m tonnes are estimated to be thrown back each year into the North Sea alone.” Although alternatives to the current quota system are yet to be defined, the EU is “highly likely” to legislate on the issue in the next two years, the Guardian notes.