UK’s most sustainable fishermen ‘must be rewarded’

UK fishermen who bring social and economic benefits to local communities without damaging the marine environment should have more opportunities to fish than others.

That’s according to a new study by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) for the RSPB, recommending ways in which environmentally friendly fishing which helps conserve UK seas should be encouraged.

Until now, fishermen have been given permission to fish based on historic catch records. However, the amended European Union (EU) Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requires member states to change the way they assign fishing opportunities and how many days a boat is allowed to fish.

The UK Government must now decide how to meet with this requirement to reward Britain’s ‘best’ fishermen. The IEEP suggests that boats best meeting a new set of environmental, social and economic criteria should receive ‘quota bonuses’.

RSPB principal marine advisor Euan Dunn said: “The way we dish out fishing opportunities must change if our Governments are to comply with the new laws to reward and encourage environmentally friendly fishing which benefits local communities.

“2015 will see huge changes in fisheries management, with effective Marine Protected Areas, the introduction of the Discard Ban and new targets for sustainable fishing. Allocating quota based on historic records alone is no way to manage modern fisheries.”

Lois Vallely

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