‘Bank and borrow’ plans announced to help fishermen

File photo dated 16/2/2004 of Cod and haddock being lowered into the hold from a pair-trawled catch from between Norway and the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. Britain has discarded nearly �1bn in cod from one population in the last 50 years, a report has revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 1, 2011. According to its findings, the wasted fish would have supported more than 700 jobs for 46 years. See PA story ENVIRIONMENT Fish. Photo credit should read: Maurice McDonald/PA Wire

File photo dated 16/2/2004 of Cod and haddock being lowered into the hold from a pair-trawled catch from between Norway and the Shetland Islands in the North Sea. Britain has discarded nearly �1bn in cod from one population in the last 50 years, a report has revealed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday August 1, 2011. According to its findings, the wasted fish would have supported more than 700 jobs for 46 years. See PA story ENVIRIONMENT Fish. Photo credit should read: Maurice McDonald/PA Wire

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More freedom to bank and borrow quota and funding for new fishing gear under the £43m European Maritime and Fisheries Fund was officially announced by Fisheries Minister George Eustace.

It is part of the Government’s plans to help fishermen prepare for the discard ban.

Speaking to an audience of fishermen, the Minister set out how the latest phase of the discard ban will bring an end to the wasteful practice of throwing fish back overboard, alongside the important flexibilities the UK Government is putting in place to ensure it doesn’t impact negatively on their business.

This ‘demersal discard ban’, which will come into effect from January 2016 for fishermen targeting species such as haddock, sole and plaice, follows the successful introduction of a ‘pelagic’ ban in January.

Commenting on preparations for the demersal ban, Mr Eustace said: “If we want a profitable fishing industry and thriving coastal communities in the future it is vital that we fish sustainably today.

“That is why the reforms we have secured to the Common Fisheries Policy, which will put an end to the shameful practice of throwing perfectly good fish overboard, are so important.

“It is essential that we ban the practice of discarding fish, but we are also committed to introducing new flexibilities to help fishermen manage their quotas and will be giving more quota to the under 10m fleet.”

The announcement follows a consultation with industry this spring.

The Government’s response sets out plans to help fishermen adapt to the ban through a combination of European Maritime and Fishing Funding, available to purchase or develop new and innovative gear and help industry to develop new markets for fish that were previously discarded.

Increased quotas from the European Commission – to take account of the fact that discarding should no longer be occurring – and more freedom to bank, borrow or swap quotas will give fishermen more flexibility over their business.

Exemptions will be based on the survivability of a species once caught.

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