The Angling Trades Association (ATA) has warmly welcomed the momentous decision to outlaw the despised commercial practice of discarding healthy but unwanted marine fish back into the sea.
Between one-quarter and one-third of the total catch quota of EU fishermen is estimated to be discarded, and this may rise as high as 90% of the catch in some circumstances for some species.
In a landmark vote taken last Wednesday, MEP’s gave the motion a huge majority, by 505 votes to 137. They will have undoubtedly been strongly influenced by the overwhelming weight of fisheries science and by the hugely successful Fish Fight campaign, headed by renowned chef and food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
ATA Chair Naidre Werner praised the trade for throwing its full support behind the Fish Fight campaign. “The health of marine fish stocks is dear to our hearts because – quite simply – sea anglers’ sport depends on a plentiful supply of fish to catch.
“Our concern about the scandal of discards is nothing new – the late David Bird first raised our awareness some 15 years ago, when he was an ATA Board member and passionately argued for the end of the practice. Our support for radical reform has not wavered since then, and we were active supporters of Hugh’s campaign.”
Naidre added: “Although this historic decision is still subject to some negotiations, there can be no turning back now. The news is a huge and important boost to recreational sea angling – and the trade it supports – and we look forward to celebrating with all of those who have campaigned to make it a reality.”