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Friday, 27 June 2014

Seafish call for an immediate re-think of the EU drift net ban

Seafish has today made available a report calling for an immediate re-think over the universal ban on driftnet fishing being proposed by the EU in order to help inform wider debate on the topic. The independently authored report, which explores the economic and environmental impacts of the proposed ban, reaches the conclusion that the proposed ban is "unnecessary, heavy handed, disproportionate and inappropriate for UK waters".

In compiling the report it was found that the proposed ban is almost universally unwelcome in the UK, to the extent that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has authored a Letter of Consultation counselling against a full ban. This has had the effect of generating some unusual alliances across fishing interests in the UK. Fishermen, managers, legislators, campaigners and Non-Governmental Organisations are opposed to this ban as it stands and are calling for exemptions, at the very least, in order to ensure this low-impact, versatile and iconic form of fishing can continue in to the future.

The report goes on to state that by blanket banning a practice that is widely used by small boat fishermen in the UK, it will not only endanger the livelihoods of a significant number of subsistence fishermen across the UK but it may also fail in its environmental objectives given that the problems it seeks to address do not exist within UK waters.

Instead of a blanket ban the report suggests that further regionalised decision making when it comes to Common Fisheries Reform may be a better option in order that we achieve the desired environmental goals. The content will be used to help inform Seafish's submission to the consultation exercise and is available for industry and other stakeholders to independently view ahead of the submission deadline on Monday 30th June 2014.

The full report can be viewed here;