On Thursday 22 October, the European Commission adopted a plan to reduce the wasteful practice of discarding – throwing overboard unwanted fish – in the North Sea.
This discard plan concerns demersal fisheries, i.e. fish that feed on or near the sea bottom, and is a temporary measure to phase out discarding and gradually put in place the landing obligation, a key component of the EU's reformed Common Fisheries Policy. It follows similar plans for demersal species in the Atlantic earlier this month.
Discarding constitutes a substantial waste of resources that threatens the sustainable exploitation and economic viability of fisheries. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that over 7 million tonnes - 8 % of the total global fish catches - are discarded yearly.
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Source: DG MARE