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I note with interest your article on further moves towards ending the practice of discarding healthy fish back dead into the sea (28 February).

Although fisheries ministers did not go as far as the European Parliament’s recent vote to end discards, it is a step in the right direction to phasing out what Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochhead quite rightly calls a “scandalous” waste of natural resources.

A number of Scottish fisheries have already made efforts to become more selective in their catches, but more work is needed both here and across Europe.

As the best way to avoid discards is to avoid catching unwanted fish in the first place, WWF continues to encourage improvements in governance and the involvement of stakeholders in securing conservation progress as witnessed with decreased cod discards in the North Sea.

Just as important is to see financial support made available to the fishing industry to ensure maximum uptake of selective gear, techniques and practices. If we are truly to secure radical and progressive reform of European fisheries policy, we need Scottish and UK ministers to continue to ensure that there are no loopholes that will undermine the achievement of sustainable fisheries and an end to discards.

Lang Banks

WWF Scotland

Little Dunkeld

Perthshire

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