Experts call for sea change in fisheries policy

UK advisory group recommends overarching EU marine legislation, bans on discards, deep sea trawling

The UK government should lobby for radical changes in the EU's fishing policy to avoid destruction of the marine environment, Britain's Royal commission on environmental pollution (RCEP) urged on Tuesday. Its report was published a day before the European Commission proposed further cuts in EU total allowable catches (TACs) and national quotas in 2005.

The RCEP demands an end to what it calls the EU's "ad hoc approach" to fisheries legislation and its replacement with consistent and overarching "marine acts", setting out long term goals and regional management plans. It urges EU bans on discarding bycatches at sea and on deep sea trawling, which it says is devastating marine ecosystems.

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