The use of appropriate fishing gear and a stop to overfishing could halt fish discards. (Photo: New Economics Foundation)
EUR 3.1 bln lost due to cod discards: report
Tuesday, August 02, 2011, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
New research from independent think-tank New Economics Foundation (NEF) reveals that the UK has from merely one cod stock discarded enough fish to support 711 jobs for 46 years. More discriminating fishing gear and a stop to overfishing could halt this waste and generate more fish, revenues and jobs, the results show.
Almost 7.5 billion cod have been thrown away since 1963 -- 1.4 for every cod landed -- by EU fishing fleets, worth GBP 2.7 billion (EUR 3.1 billion). If no cod had been discarded during this period, the cod population would have been an average 13.2 per cent larger year-on-year, breeding an increase in profits and jobs supported by this stock.
Discarded cod in the North Sea, Eastern Channel and Skagerrak is harming the UK’s economy, environment and society, according to the report published this week.
Money Overboard: Why discarding fish is a waste of jobs and money focuses on cod living in the North Sea, Eastern English Channel, and Skagerrak. It shows that there are benefits to be made from landing fish that would have otherwise been discarded, but that much bigger benefits would come from fishing more selectively to give fish more time to grow.
|Population and catch numbers of cod in the North Sea, Eastern Channel and Skagerrak (1963-2008). Cod population (green), cumulative total catches (landings and discards; red+blue), and landings (blue). The red shaded area (above the blue area) represents total discards.(Graph: New Economics Foundation)
With selective gear sparing the small cod, discarded fish, with time to grow could have been worth GBP 7.5 billion (EUR 8.6 billion).
“Everyone can see that discards are hugely wasteful, but far more wastage comes from overfishing […]. Action to end discards must be accompanied with action to restore fish stocks,” said Rupert Crilly, environmental economics researcher at NEF and author of the report.
He added that avoiding discards is more important than the creation of markets for unwanted species, as the latter could amplify demand for fish and put more pressure on fish populations.
|Landings (tonnes) by country of cod in the North Sea, Eastern Channel and Skagerrak (1963–2008). (Graph:New Economics Foundation)
On 13 July, the European Commission (EC) presented its proposal for Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform, including a Discard Ban for “quota” species. But the gradual approach proposed by the Commission ignores the problem of widespread discarding of non-quota species, according to NEF.
“We’re calling for a carefully implemented discard ban aimed at reducing unwanted fish and by-catch, not the creation of new markets for them,” said Ian Campbell, UK co-ordinator of OCEAN2012. “There is more work to be done to show how a discard ban would work in practice, but NEF’s report suggests that the Council and European Parliament need to support the Commission in ending the unacceptable practice of discarding”
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By Natalia Real