Skip to main content

EU landing obligation inquiry launched by Committee

15 November 2018

The EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee launches an inquiry into the implementation of the EU landing obligation.


Discarding is the practice of throwing unwanted fish back into the sea. An average 1.7 million tonnes of fish and other marine life used to be discarded in the EU each year, because it was unmarketable, unprofitable, exceeded the amount of fish allowed to be caught or was otherwise unwanted. Not only is this a waste of finite resource, as many fish do not survive discarding, it also makes it difficult to accurately measure how many fish are actually caught (which is necessary to monitor the health of fish stocks and prevent over-fishing).

The EU landing obligation seeks to gradually eliminate discards by requiring all catches of specified types of fish to be landed. It has been implemented in stages, beginning in 2015; by 1 January 2019 it will apply to all fish stocks for which the EU sets a Total Allowable Catch.

Scope of the inquiry

The Committee are inviting individuals and organisations to share their experience of the impact that the EU landing obligation has had to date, and their views on what impact full implementation might have from January 2019. The Committee are also seeking comments on how effectively the landing obligation is being enforced and what the UK Government could do to address some of the challenges posed by the requirements of the landing obligation.

Chair's comments

Lord Teverson, Chair of the Sub-Committee, said:

"Reducing discards is vital to protecting the health of our oceans. We know, however, that the landing obligation is a major change for the fishing industry and that there are genuine concerns about the impact it may have on fishers' livelihoods. It also requires a shift in how we monitor and enforce fishing regulations, and we know there is some doubt as to whether current arrangements are adequate. We want to understand the challenges that will need to be overcome, and potential solutions to those challenges, and would really encourage those with experience or interest in these issues to share their views with us."

Further information

Image: iStockphoto