Europe's fishermen need to stop throwing millions of tons of unwanted fish back into the sea every year, the European Union's fisheries chief has decided. Maria Damanaki has outlined a plan to end the practice of throwing back the edible fish, almost all of which die. The unwanted catch, she says, should be brought back to fishing ports where it can be distributed to the poor or used as food for fish farms, the Guardian reports.
The discards are the result of fishermen complying with quota regulations, and attempting to maximize profits by tossing away lower-value or damaged fish. Damanaki's proposals are being fiercely opposed by the fishing industry and some EU member nations. To offset potential loss of income, she says funds would be made available to pay fishermen for unwanted catch brought to shore, and to pay them for collecting plastic waste at sea and sending it for recycling. The proposal goes to the European Parliament for debate. (Read more fishing industry stories.)