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Getting personal over Europe's fish

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Getting personal over Europe's fish

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Brussels would like EU to consider a more liberal system to encourage sustainable fishing. Instead of annual catch allowances for each country’s fleet, governments would hand out individual and transferable quotas to fishermen.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg wants everyong involved in the sector on board to develop this. He said: “It is through this consultation that we hope to address issues which are very relevant, for example, how to reduce capacity, how to eliminate discarding of fish, how to involve and ‘responsibilise’ the fishermen themselves even more, through results-based management. These are the issues, among others, that we need to address, if we can hope to have a sustainable stock and therefore a sustainable fishery.” The individual quotas could be bought and sold on the private market. Non-EU Norway and Iceland use this system. So do Australia and New Zealand. Its supporters say it encourages more responsible behaviour. Denmark and the Netherlands are among the EU states in favour of the tradeable quotas scheme. But others, notably France, object it would turn fisheries into another vehicle for speculators. Some ecologists have praised the European Commission as honest, for admitting that saving fish stocks to allow a profitable sector needs radical reform.