MP agrees with Hugh’s Fish Fight

Joseph Bulmer

North Devon MP Nick Harvey says discarding perfectly good fish due to EU rules is “crazy.”

NORTH Devon MP Nick Harvey has joined the chorus of disapproval calling for an end to discarding perfectly good fish – as highlighted by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign.

“The situation is crazy,” said Nick, “the very system that was put in place to safeguard fishing stocks actually causes needless waste.

“Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight Campaign is rightly highlighting this issue.

“However you look at it, forcing fishermen to discard excess quotas and non-commercial species is little more than environmental vandalism.”

Even Defra recognises that the situation is wrong, in an official statement the department said: “Discarding is not good for the environment and is costly for fishermen. It is also seen as a destructive and wasteful practice. We are involved in discussions to ensure that new ways of reducing discards can be taken up at European Community level.”

In the Channel 4 show Hugh’s Fish Fight, viewers saw grim scenes of countless large cod and other perfectly edible fish being put over the side of a fishing trawler because it would be breaking the law to land them.

The haunting scenes of a constant stream of dead fish falling through the water has been made into a short film to promote the campaign.

Nick added: “I am currently lobbying Caroline Spellman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs urging her to bring greater pressure on Brussels to review the situation in the run up to the reform of the Common Fisheries policy in 2012.”

Fishermen are obliged to discard fish due to EU quota restrictions, fish grading, minimum legal size, market conditions and by-catch of protected species.

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