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Breakthrough on discards at marathon EU fisheries talks - Coveney plays central role in EU agreement on workable discards solution

In what was the most significant EU Fisheries Council in over a decade, involving more than 20 hours of negotiations finishing at 5am this morning, the EU Fisheries Ministers agreed their position on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The issue of discarding of fish whereby unwanted catches of dead fish are thrown back into the sea was the most contentious element of today's discussions and threatened to block the Council’s efforts to reach agreement. Minister Coveney put forward a new compromise approach setting down a definitive timetable for the elimination of discards on a phased basis. The Minister’s proposal offered a practical and progressive solution which was accepted by fellow Ministers.  The approach will end this waste of a valuable resource and will enable stocks to grow.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D stated "I very much welcome the agreement reached today, which will support a more secure future for our fishermen. I have worked with our industry at home and with my EU Ministerial colleagues to deliver a progressive and phased approach to ending this unacceptable practice of discarding dead fish.   At the same time, the agreement protects the interests of fishermen while promoting a more sustainable approach to managing fish stocks."

Minister Coveney added "I hope that this new agreement will be welcomed by both the industry and those campaigning for sustainable management of fish stocks."


Note for Editors: The UN has stated that the North East Atlantic has the second highest discards level in the world, estimated to be 1.3 million tonnes annually.  Most of these discards are attributed to EU fishermen carried out under the current EU Common Fisheries Policy. 

Date Released: 13 June 2012