The Fish Fight Campaign and Common Fisheries Policy Aimed to Eliminate Discarding in Europe: Five years on, Are We Succeeding?
With almost 900,000 people across 195 countries signing up to the Fish Fight, this media-led campaign delivered a very clear message from civil society to national governments and the then European Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Daminaki. That message was simple and clear: that there should be an end to the wasteful practice of discarding in EU fisheries.
Now, after a phased 5-year roll-out, the beginning of 2019 will see the final and full implementation of the EU Landing Obligation. So, how have EU Member States managed the implementation of a regulation which saw immense public support? The original ambition was to drive selectivity, reduce waste, improve data resolution, and enhance stock management, but has it? Where has the Landing Obligation succeeded, and are there instances where it has failed in delivering the mandate of the Fish Fight and the European consumers who supported it?
Over the last years we have heard how fishers have largely viewed it as problematic, governments have turned a blind eye, retailers want to be confident their supply chains are discard free (and hence legal) and fish stocks risk over-exploitation through quota uplifts. So what is going on?