Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Boffins warn that fish discard ban may harm the seas

The wasteful practice of fish discarding is to be phased out
The wasteful practice of fish discarding is to be phased out

A looming ban on fish discards could disrupt the delicate marine ecosystem and take food from the mouths of seabirds, a new report says.

The wasteful practice of throwing unwanted fish overboard is to be phased out between 2015 and 2019, and fishermen will be obliged to land at least 95% of the fish they catch.

Strathclyde University experts studied the likely impact of the discard ban.

Professor Mike Heath, who led the research team, said: “Wildlife everywhere capitalises on waste from human activity.

“Discarded fish are food for a wide range of seabirds, marine mammals, seabed animals and other fish, therefore, banning discards could have unintended effects on the ecosystem.”

The European Commission’s decision to ban discards as part of Common Fisheries Policy reforms was heavily influenced by the Fish Fight campaign led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Strathclyde University’s researchers say it could have an adverse effect the marine environment without improving fish stocks.

Fisheries scientist Robin Cook, senior research fellow at the university, said: “Our results highlight the importance of considering the broader ecosystem consequences of fishery management.

“Policy changes to reduce discards affect the food web and, without careful consideration, may dissipate or negate intended benefits.

“These ecological effects need to be considered alongside the practical, societal and economic issues in developing a sustainable policy.”

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said an improvement in the health of many North Sea fish stocks was already having an impact further down the food chain, and subsequently on seabird populations.

He added: “The Scottish fish industry has grave concerns over how a discards ban will actually work in practice, with it being very much a case of treating the symptom rather than trying to tackle the causal factors.”

Kara Brydson, head of marine policy at conservation body RSPB Scotland, said: “This long overdue ban on discarding will help put our seas back on an even keel.

“Nevertheless, the loss of discards could pile the pressure on the UK’s seabirds.

“They are already depleted by climate change-driven changes to their marine food chain.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]