Ministers across the European Union convening on Tuesday, March 1 called for the first-ever reform in 40 years of a fisheries policy that has resulted in an estimated 1 million tons of fish caught in the North Sea alone being thrown back into the sea each year. This is due to an imposed quota system, which was originally specified by the European Union to protect the fish stock.
However, in part due to fishing methods where giant nets are dragged across the ocean floor, capturing all marine life they encounter, up to two-thirds of the fish caught in some areas are now being discarded, most of them already perished.
In addition, unintentionally caught species which do not have quota regulations must also be discarded. In discussing with delegates from European Union member states, Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said she hopes to introduce a discard ban by 2013. Meanwhile, more than 650,000 signatures have been gathered by advocates in the United Kingdom hoping to stop the practice.
Thank you Commissioner Damanaki, European Union ministers and all advocates for your efforts to save precious marine lives. May the day soon come when our friends of the sea can roam the ocean waters freely and safely as we cherish their existence as we would our own.
Supreme Master Ching Hai has often addressed the devastating consequences of fishing practices, as during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo.