I have been following a programme on Channel 4 here in the UK over the past 3 nights, called Hugh's Fish Fight, hosted by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. The show is the launch of a campaign to end the process of discard in European fisheries, which is a total and utter disgrace that has been brought in by the European Union.
Every day in the North Sea, approximately half of all the fish that is caught has to be thrown back overboard. Dead.
The European Union has imposed quotas on fishing fleets for the amount of fish they are allowed to catch. For example, a boat may be allowed to catch so many tons of cod, so many tons of haddock, etc. However, once they have reached their quota for that particular species, they are not allowed to land any more of that species. By landing, that means they are not allowed to take the fish ashore. They legally have to discard of the fish.
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall went out with several trawlers in the North Sea from different UK ports to see how this works. One trawler was out of cod quota, and was after catching monkfish. When they hauled their nets in, they had large quantities of cod in them. These cod had to be thrown overboard. Needless to say, they were all dead.
What we want to see happen is a change to the European Common Fisheries Policy. For example, instead of giving a trawler quotas for the different species they catch, allow them to sail for a set number of days. Once they have sailed for that number of days, they cannot go out again within the given time period. Any fish they catch within their alloted number of days they can land. That would instantly remove the process of discard.
I would like to urge each and everyone of you to check out the campaign at www.fishfight.net - if you agree with what has been said both here and on the website, please join the campaign.