Norway proposes new international guidelines for by-catch management and discards
“Up to 20 million tons of fish are discarded in the sea worldwide every year. This is a waste of fish which could have been a valuable food resource. Norway has therefore put forward a proposal on developing international guidelines for by-catch management and reduction of discards to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO),” says Norway’s Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Helga Pedersen.
The proposal was put forward at the 28th meeting of the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture (COFI) at the FAO, held between 2 and 6 March in Rome.
“This is an extremely important measure to ensure sustainable management of fisheries resources. I am delighted that Norway’s proposal received broad support, and that with Norwegian financial backing the FAO will now initiate a process which will lead to international guidelines in this area. It is a major problem that fish which could be used as food are discarded, and the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs has put a lot of effort to address this issue over the last year,” stated Pedersen.
Norway’s proposal and breakthrough at the FAO is a continuation of its efforts to create more awareness of the problems with by-catches and discards. Norway was also one of the driving forces to have the discard issue included in the Fisheries Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2008. Norway also put strong emphasis on the issue in the negotiations last year on a fisheries agreement with the EU for 2009, where major progress was also made on reducing discards.
“We also need to increase our efforts in Norway, and the new Marine Resources Act which came into effect on 1 January 2009 is important for our national efforts in this field. The Norwegian fisheries authorities have thus strengthened the regulations on discards with effect from this year,” concludes the minister.