1. ITV Report

Ban on throwing back fish won't happen for years

Fish discards to end but when? Photo: ITV Westcountry

You can see our Cornwall reporter Kathy Wardle's report on the fish discard ban here.

South West fishermen say they're waiting for the details of an EU agreement banning the controversial discard policy which makes them throw dead fish back into the sea.

EU ministers say they're now committed to ending discards but haven't agreed when it'll be implemented which has frustrated Britain's fisheries minister.

While I am disappointed that the Council has not agreed the firm dates that I was seeking, a commitment to eliminating discards is a step in the right direction"

– Richard Benyon MP, Minister for the Natural Environment & Fisheries

Under the plan, it's proposed a ban on discarding certain species of fish including mackerel and herring could come into effect in 2014 with a ban on other discards like cod, haddock, plaice and sole in 2018. But at this stage, the timetable is only provisional.

There is still a lot more work that needs to be done but I believe the agreement we have reached is an important step on the way to achieving that"

– Richard Benyon MP, Minister for the Natural Environment & Fisheries

Fisheries Ministers were also given the findings of a EU report showing fish stocks are recovering in British waters. In 2004, 94% of stocks were being overfished in the Atlantic and nearby seas. Today that figure has reduced to less than half at 47% prompting calls for fishing fleets which have been hardest hit to be given extra quota.