SUNDERLAND’S MEP Martin Callanan has said he’s in the same boat as celebrity chef and “Fish Fight” campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Mr Callanan, one of the three MEPs representing Sunderland and the North East in Europe, stood side-by-side with Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall in Brussels in the campaign to end the practice of dumping edible fish overboard.
His support comes after the River Cottage food guru’s Fish Fight campaign made a splash in the UK and saw his series of documentaries on the issue win a BAFTA award.
Mr Callanan said: “For years we have highlighted the utter insanity and waste of perfectly edible fish being thrown overboard dead just to satisfy the EU’s Common fisheries Policy. Local fishermen hate having to do it but they have no choice.”
Mr Callanan met Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall when he served MEPs and officials a fish meal outside the European Parliament’s entrance.
The Tory MEP is proposing a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which he said will re-vamp the system for managing fisheries so that decisions are made on a regional level.
“Instead of being compelled to dump fish over the side, fishermen should be compelled to land everything,” said Mr Callanan.
“It would become an offence to discard fish. Fishermen should be incentivised to end discards by rewarding them with extra quota.
“Such a system would provide two immediate advantages for the industry. Firstly, scientists would get a much clearer picture of what fish were being caught and where, and conservation and recovery plans could be devised or waters temporarily closed.
“Secondly, undersize fish and other species, which previously would have been discarded, could be sold to the processing sector, which is desperate for raw material to supply the fishmeal and fish oil industry.”