In a letter issuedfrom DEFRA announcing a proposal tochange the regulation on technical measures to promote the conservation of fishstocks, to reduce discards and protect vulnerable marine habitats in EU waters(outside the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Seas), it is intimated that theuse of projectiles will be also banned under Article 31 of Council Regulation850/98 which permits spear fishing but prohibits the sale of fish caught usinga projectile.
The letter says thatthe Commission’s proposal will apply to all commercial and recreationalfishermen and replace the current technical conservation rules in Regulation(EC) no. 850/98 (the Technical Conservation Regulation), and also lays down thegeneral principles underlying all technical measures, outlining a number ofspecific measures which will be applicable in all areas, such as fordiscarding.
These discardmeasures, which apply throughout the North Sea and North East Atlantic include:
· provisionsfor Member States to implement real-time closures of areas where strongconcentrations of juveniles are detected for periods of up to 10 days;
· areduction in the number of species subject to a minimum landing size, in orderto focus on the target species of the fisheries concerned;
· thegeneral application of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO)rule that, when undersized fish account for more than 10% of the catch of atarget species, the vessel must change gear or move on;
· greaterflexibility in the application of by-catch rules designed to discouragediscarding.
Local UKspearfisherman are in uproar, saying that spearfishing is the only form ofsustainable fishing as it is selective in its catch compared to other fishingmethods. If anyone wishes to respond to this consultation they may contact [email protected].