Oceana asks EU for measures to stop 3,000 tonnes of marine catches thrown away every day

Due to lack of regulation, 20% of the world’s discards are generated in Europe, while we aim to be a model for third countries in fisheries management.

Press Release Date: May 11, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

On the occasion of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 23 and 24 April, Oceana calls attention to the complete absence of regulations in EU waters to reduce the problem of bycatch and discards, which amount to over 3,000 tonnes every day.


Discard is defined by the FAO as “the portion of the catch that is thrown away at sea for one reason or another.” This practice is widespread around the world and is most common in trawl fisheries. Discards can reach 90% of the total weight of the catch in some fisheries.


The European Commission will launch a Green Paper tomorrow on the reform of Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), to enter into force in 2013. If a new and forceful stance on the issue of discards is not taken now, we will once again find ourselves in a position of total  inactivity. For the Executive Director of Oceana Europe, Xavier Pastor, the situation is very disappointing: In 2008, opportunities came and went that may have constituted a starting point to solve the problem of discards, but other interests were more important. We cannot continue to postpone the adoption of measures.”


At the end of 2008 two important regulations for the bycatch reduction in the Nephrops and flatfish fisheries were rejected, after more than one year working and them, meeting with the stakeholders involved and drafting legal texts. One of the reasons mentioned was the fact that the CFP reform would include important measures to eliminate discards.


The approach that Oceana promotes and which has proven successful in other countries as a solution to this problem includes the implementation of a suite of measures that includes, amongst other things:

  • The establishment of maximum bycatch limits.
  • The improvement of the selectivity of all fishing gear.
  • Real time area closures.
  • The creation of preferential access zones.
  • The implementation of a ban on discards.


It is precisely this ban on discards that may be one of the ideas to be included in the future CFP.  According to Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research and Projects at Oceana Europe,A ban on discards is an excellent measure, but its meaning is often distorted and explained incorrectly. Without a doubt, a ban needs to be included in the future CFP, but we cannot be satisfied we only have measures that will become effective in four years.





Oceana’s analysis of the ban on discards


Oceana has images on discards available