Saturday, 11 May 2019

Has the EU’s fish discard ban worked? Lords' Committee questions the fishing industry

Watch the Lord's Select Sub-Committee on EU Energy and Environment as it sought industry feedback on its 2019 report on the impact of full implementation of the EU Landing Obligation:

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee takes evidence from fishing organisations and the British Ports Association on the impact of the EU landing obligation.

Inquiry: Implementation and enforcement of the EU landing obligation
EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee
Wednesday 8 May in Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster, at 10.30am

Bertie Armstrong, CEO, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation
Pete Bromley, Harbourmaster at Sutton Harbour and member of the British Ports Association’s Fishing Ports Group
Barrie Deas, CEO, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations
Jeremy Percy, Director, New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association
Jim Pettipher, CEO, Coastal Producer Organisation


The EU landing obligation aims to put an end to the practice of discarding fish. 1.7 million tonnes of fish were being thrown back into the sea each year, because fishers were catching species they did not want or weren’t allowed to keep. Spurred on by a public petition (championed by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) that attracted 870,000 signatures, the EU agreed to legislation in 2013 that would require fishers to land everything they caught. The rules have been slowly phased in since 2015, and came into force in full on 1 January 2019.

In November and December 2018, the Sub-Committee took evidence from fisheries researchers, environmental campaign groups, the fishing industry, enforcement agencies and the Government on what had happened during the phasing-in period, what the impact of full implementation might be and how ready the UK was for implementation. The Sub-Committee published its report in February, in which it set out a number of concerns.

Areas of discussion

Sub-Committee Members will ask the attendees what impact the landing obligation has had, since it came into force in full in January 2019. In particular, Members are likely to ask:

  • Whether fishers are complying with the new rules
  • Whether the industry’s concern that the new rules would result in people quickly running out quota (and so having to stop fishing) have been realised
  • Whether ports have seen significant amounts of additional fish landed, that would previously have been discarded
  • Whether fish buyers and retailers are asking for proof that the new rules are being compiled with