In a joint statement, retailers including food giants Lidl and Aldi, have written that the landing obligation needs to be successfully implemented once it is fully operational on January 1st 2019.
The EU committed to banning the wasteful practice of discarding in 2013 and began the stepwise process of making fisheries discard free two years after. However, it has made little or no difference to fishing patterns.
Research from ICES shows that discarding has continued, however, quotas have been set on the assumption that the landing obligation has 100% compliance, leading to overfishing. Examples of technological innovations to improve selectivity or allocating more quota to vessels that are fully compliant with the discard ban are few and far between.
As a result of the landing obligation being poorly implemented, trawling vessels from Germany now widely engage in illegal, unreported and regulated (IUU) fishing. According to ICES, iconic fish stocks such as cod coming from the Baltic or North Sea more than 20% of catches are unreported and discarded. This makes retailers worried as they rely on their supply chain being legally compliant.
The retailers point out that these problems can be avoided with effective implementation of the existing regulations. Fully documented fisheries can help to provide better fisheries management, healthier fish stocks, and a stable supply of high quality fish that they would like to sell to their customers.