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Sussex fishermen's concern over EU fishing reforms
New rules on fishing will leave Sussex boats with a raw deal, an industry insider has said.
The European Parliament passed reforms to its controversial EU Common Fisheries Policy on Wednesday (February 6).
Part of the legislation included banning discards – the practice of throwing unwanted dead fish into the sea.
But Bill Brock, from Fish in Portslade, said the new rules will be bad for Sussex’s businesses.
This is because the county’s coast is shallow water and most of the species they catch can survive if thrown back.
Mr Brock said 70% of unwanted fish caught but discarded survive.
These fish repopulate while those that die are thrown overboard and only act as food for other species.
Mr Brock warned the new rules could lead to more dead fish with anything caught taken to land and likely to be made into fish meal as it cannot be sold.
He said: “If it is not implemented properly this has the potential to increase fish mortality, especially in shallow water areas such as Sussex.
“This could have a huge effect on the fishermen but not a good one.”
It is understood the details of the policy are still being finalised and there is a chance certain species might be excluded from the reforms.
Problems But Mr Brock said even this could cause problems as cod caught in deep water is much less likely to survive than that caught in shallow water.
The EU has argued the reforms are necessary and will help fishermen in the long term.
Its report said almost 85% of the world fish stocks for which information is available are reported as being either fully exploited or overexploited.
It added: “Discarding, is estimated at 23% of total catches (substantially more in some fisheries).
Land all species
“This unacceptable practice will be phased out with a precise timeline for implementation and in combination with some flanking measures.
“Fishermen will be obliged to land all the commercial species that they catch.
“Under-sized fish cannot be sold for human consumption.
“This ban will lead to more reliable data on fish stocks, support better management and improve resource efficiency.
“It is also an incentive for fishermen to avoid unwanted catches by means of technical solutions such as more selective fishing gear.”
The UK fishing industry caught about 580,000 tonnes of fish in 2010.
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