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Irish gov't says strict EU fishery regs forcing white fish fishermen to throw 33% of catch overboard
November 16, 2011, 02:44 AM

(seafood.com) Over a third of

"Fishermen and the industry want this. It makes no sense for fishermen to be catching fish and then having to throw them back in dead," he said.

"It damages stocks for the future, it puts equipment under strain and costs everybody time and money."

The Government has for the first time recorded the extent of waste forced on to domestic and foreign fleets operating around Ireland under strict European laws.

Trawlers are throwing back tonnes of valuable species either because the fish caught are too young, the boat does not have a quota for certain species and brings them on board as by-catch or the catch cannot legally be sold.

It is estimated 1.3 million tonnes of fish are discarded in the north-east Atlantic every year, from waters north of Spain up to Scandinavia — the second highest discard level in the world.

The Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara reported that 38% of cod, haddock, whiting, monkfish, plaice and prawns caught are thrown back in dead or dying.

The report assesses only Irish vessels which catch 15%-20% of the total in Irish waters.

European Commissioner Maria Damanaki has been pressing for a total ban on boats dumping fish at sea and suggested all fish caught should be landed, even if they cannot be sold.

Sean O'Donoghue, chairman of the Federation of Irish Fishermen, said outlawing discards is uneconomic and will not ensure sustainable catches.

Mr Coveney called on the rest of Europe to follow the Irish lead and ask fishermen to record and publish full details of discards to reveal the full extent of waste.

Kim Thu
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