A blow to campaigners against discards

MPs reject ban on fish discarding

A serious set back to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and other campaigners seeking an end to fishermen’s practice of discarding.

Fishermen should be allowed to continue discarding edible fish at sea, despite public pressure to stop the wasteful practice, a group of MPs has urged.

The proposal, by a parliamentary select committee, is a blow to environmental campaigners who have long argued against the practice.

A high-profile public campaign led by the chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has called an end to the discarding of fish. Fleets sometimes throw fish back, usually dead, because they have exceeded their quota or have inadvertently caught less valuable species.

Partly in response to the campaign, the European commission has proposed a phased-in ban on discards, which the UK government has backed in Brussels.

But the environment and rural affairs committee called in a report published on Friday for the practice to be allowed to continue until 2020 at least.