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Ian Hudghton (Greens/EFA) – Madam President, let us not forget that the discredited common fisheries policy (CFP) has in fact been one of the principal causes of discards through its inflexibility in the past. Everyone wants an end to discarding, especially fishers themselves. They hate being forced to throw dead fish back into the sea by regulation.
I believe that the landing obligation will only succeed if it is implemented in a thoroughly regionalised and fishery-specific process. This compromise is acceptable, but it is not perfect. It will be very difficult to implement, particularly in the mixed-species white fish sector which is crucially important in Scotland and elsewhere.
I therefore welcome the allowance to give time to adapt, but there must also be support for additional methods of reducing unwanted catches in the first place. There must be flexibility to allow quota uplift to prevent the industry being paralysed by so-called 'choke species'. The overall objective surely must be to reduce fish mortality, not just to move the problem onshore.