01 MAR 2011
By Andrew Willis
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - EU fishery ministers will tackle the thorny issue of 'fish discards' when they meet in Brussels on Tuesday (1 March), a much-criticised practice of throwing dead fish back overboard because they exceed an allotted quota, are too small or deemed unprofitable by fishermen.
EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki is expected to present a number of potential methods to end the practice, including greater time and geographic restrictions on where boats can fish.
The discussion comes as the commission prepares a complete overhaul of the EU's common fisheries policy (CFP), with a ban on discards among the potential ideas to be included in the forthcoming proposals, expected before the summer.
"We need a new and sustainable common fisheries policy that protects our seas and manages vulnerable fish stocks better while allowing our fishermen to make a living and plan for the future," UK fisheries minister Richard Benyon said in prepared remarks ahead of Tuesday's gathering.
A number of MEPs are also set to attend the discussions, convened by Ms Damanaki. Polish Conservative MEP Marek Grobarczyk, the author of a 2010 report on the subject, warned against a one-size-fits-all approach however.
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