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FAO unveils new guidelines on fishing discards

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Jan 14, 2011
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation on Friday unveiled new guidelines aimed at reducing fishing discards that threaten in the long-term many fisheries and the livelihood of millions of fishermen.

The guidelines cover all types of bycatch including discards, referring to fish that are caught accidently and then thrown back into the sea either dead or dying.

Bycatch may also include endangered species, juvenile fish, turtles, seabirds, and dolphins, and currently may be in excess of 20 million tonnes a year, the Rome-based UN agency said in a statement.

"These are the first guidelines to cover all species encountering fishing gear," said FAO fishing technology expert Frank Chopin.

"The guidelines extend the principles of fishery management to all species and all areas of concern."

The guidelines agreed by fisheries experts from 35 countries who met at the FAO last month were another important step towards applying an ecosystem approach to fisheries management, he added.

Chopin also said care had been taken so that the guidelines would not place an undue burden on poor artisanal fishermen and on developing states.

"The guidelines emphasize doing an assessment of the situation first to see if there is a problem. The social, economic and biological impacts of applying these guidelines need to be studied in each case," he said.

The FAO said the guidelines would be presented for endorsement to the Committee on Fisheries at the end of the month.

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EU closes ports to Iceland's mackerel
Brussels (AFP) Jan 14, 2011
The European Union on Friday said it would block Iceland's fishing boats from unloading mackerel until a dispute over quotas is resolved, but Reykjavik insisted the measure would have no impact. Iceland and the EU have been locked in a "mackerel war" since the Nordic nation raised its mackerel catch quota to levels unacceptable to the 27-nation bloc as well as other partners, including Norwa ... read more

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