Brussels 14 February 2019:- People go about their daily life in the bustling city; then the fish start falling. First one by one, then a deluge – a busker, a policemen, customers queuing for hotdogs are whacked by fish falling from the sky. What is going on?
This newly released animation from campaign group Our Fish, created by filmmaker Daniel Bird of Wit and Wisdom TV, explores the problem of discarded fish through the mythological phenomena of raining fish.
“Each year, up to 1.7 million tonnes of unwanted fish and marine life are dumped back into the sea by EU fishers, because of indiscriminate and highly wasteful fishing practices”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “Low-value or unwanted fish – often vulnerable species, or juveniles who haven’t had a chance to breed – are thrown back, usually dead or dying.”
“Because this massive waste of fish, caught and then thrown away by EU fishers, happens out of sight and out of mind, it’s a real challenge to communicate the magnitude of the problem. But if 1.7 million tonnes of fish rained from the sky onto your city – you might just notice it – that’s why we’re telling the story through animation”, she continued. Our Fish are asking members of the public to take action , by signing a petition calling on EU fisheries ministers to end overfishing.
“It’s a monumental waste of fish by the European fishing industry. But to avoid getting bogged down in fisheries or political jargon, we chose to show the size of the discarding problem by taking it out of context, and adding a twist of dark humour,” said filmmaker Daniel Bird. “You can only either laugh or cry at the total absurdity of throwing away mountains of fish that shouldn’t have been caught in the first place.”
Since January 1st, when EU’s Landing Obligation came into force, most fish species can no longer be discarded, and instead must be counted towards quotas, and landed in ports . This law is aimed at driving an improvement in sustainable fishing methods and to incentivise fishers to avoid catching unwanted fish in the first place. The ban has been phased in between 2015 and January 2019. However, reports suggest that despite a four-year phase-in of the Obligation, discarding is still continuing, fishing selectivity is not being significantly improved, and governments are refusing to increase at-sea monitoring to ensure the new laws are respected. [1,2,3]
“By signing up to the Landing Obligation, EU governments committed to ending this massive waste of fish, and to restore the health of our vulnerable oceans for the public good. Now they must get serious about turning those commitments into action on our seas – and the most important way to start is by properly monitoring and enforcing the rules so that the fishing industry can begin its urgently needed transition to a more environmentally and economically sustainable business model”, concluded Hubbard.
Watch: Raining Fish
The European Commission has proposed the introduction of Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) as part of the review of the Control Regulation . The Pech Committee of the EU Parliament is expected to vote on the Commission’s Control Regulation proposal, and whether or not to introduce REM, at the end of March or early April . The Control Regulation will then be negotiated through the trialogue process between the Parliament, Council and Commission.
 Our Fish (2018), Illegal Baltic cod discards are wasting fisheries, communities & the environment.
 UK Parliament, European Union Committee, Fisheries: implementation and enforcement of the EU landing obligation. 26th Report of Session 2017-19 – published 8 February 2019 – HL Paper 276.
 Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, and amending Council Regulations (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 1967/2006, (EC) No 1005/2008, and Regulation (EU) No 2016/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards fisheries control COM/2018/368 final.
Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764
Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, [email protected] +34 657669425
About Our Fish
Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.
Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.
Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.
Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish