EU Action Plan concerning by-catches and discards

Friday 30 March 2007

The European Commission has launched an Action Plan to ensure that environmental protection requirements are integrated into the CFP. By-catches and discards negatively impact the marine ecosystem. Juvenile fish and vulnerable species such as dolphins, sharks or marine birds are particularly affected by fishing activities.

To address these problems, the Commission have initiated measures to promote the protection of vulnerable species. Measures have been proposed to ensure the protection of sharks, including the prohibition of "finning" - involving the removal of fins and discarding of carcasses - of sharks in EU waters, and to reduce by-catch of.

The Commission also advocates the introduction of more selective fishing gear, such as nets with larger meshes or fitted with square-meshed panels, restrictions on fishing to protect juvenile fish, sensitive non-target species and habitats, minimum landing sizes in line with the selectivity of the gear concerned, "discard ban trials" in which representative samples of fishing vessels would be encouraged through economic incentives to retain their entire catch and the development of economic incentives for the use of more selective fishing practices.

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