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End to discards shame is victory for fish fighters, says Liz

July 14, 2011 6:28 PM

A plan to end 'discards' of thousands of tonnes of fish announced by the EU Commission this week is a long overdue victory for consumers and campaigners, says local Euro MP Liz Lynne.

The radical changes to the Common Fisheries Policy follow the 'Fish Fight' campaign led by top chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the 'Fish for the Future' group of Euro MPs, which includes Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne.

The discard of fish of the wrong species for a catch quota will now be phased out.

The practice, which in extreme cases means as much as 80% of a catch is dumped overboard, was condemned by a petition signed by nearly a million people, after Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall and the Fish for the Future Group organised campaigns against it in almost every EU country.

Other measures include long term regional management plans instead of crude annual quotas.

The new policy is designed to boost stocks of fish over a period of years but has been strongly opposed by some southern European governments.

Liz Lynne MEP said:

"These reforms are welcome but long overdue. It is not just a matter of stopping over-fishing; we must also take further steps to replenish fish stocks in our seas.

"It is a tribute to the energy of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the international Fish Fight campaign over recent months that Commissioner Damanaki has not backed down in the face of strong pressure from vested interests.

"She can be sure of strong support from me and other members of the Fish for the Future Group of MEPs to take these reforms forward."

ENDS

Caption: Liz Lynne MEP joined Fish Fight campaigner and top chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall during his recent lobbying in Brussels demanding an end to the scandal of fish discards.