Sir: I strongly support Maria Damanaki’s views that eliminating discards as part of the Common Fisheries Policy reform is a priority (‘I’m the enemy of irresponsibility’, 10 May). The UK is aiming to eliminate discards through continued CFP reform negotiations in Brussels. We have high hopes for the next round of CFP negotiations this month.
But we are not just waiting on the outcome of the reform. In the UK, we have been trialling a catch quota management system under which fishermen have to account for what they take out of the sea and land all they catch, with CCTV used to verify catches.
Improvements in gear selectivity to reduce discards are also a priority. A project in the South West reduced discards by over 50% and there are other initiatives ongoing. We have also been encouraging consumers to reduce their reliance on popular and overfished stocks.
I will continue to push for reform on behalf of the UK.
Richard Benyon, Fisheries minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs