Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and European Programmes
In June 2012, I along with the other UK Fisheries Ministers successfully negotiated a general agreement for the reform of the CFP.
This agreement signalled Fisheries Ministers intentions to end the wasteful practices of discarding fish, to set catching at sustainable levels, to undertake more long term planning and, within this context, to move towards a more regional approach to managing fisheries.
This Fisheries Council discussed mechanisms to enable a discard ban to be introduced.
The focus of discussions centred on the details of implementing a discard ban. Whilst UK Ministers strongly support the introduction of a discard ban, there are significant challenges with the implementation of such a ban. This will affect all fishing practices, including the small scale coastal fishing fleet around the Welsh coast.
EU fisheries Ministers reached an agreement on the key steps to achieve a genuine discard ban as part of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The Council discussions provided the opportunity to highlight Member States’ views on this issue: the UK used this as a further opportunity to build a consensus for its preferred approach on the Common Fisheries Reform Package.
This latest agreement provides a sound basis for the trilogue negotiations between the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament. This paves the way for the reformed policy to begin to come into force from January 2014.