NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Fishermen given two-year reprieve over discards

Discards Image copyright BBC news online
Image caption New discard rules started to come into force in January

Scotland's fishermen have been given more time to cope with a ban on throwing unwanted fish back into the sea.

They have been given a two-year reprieve before facing penalties, following a European Parliament vote.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said it was a "very important" move towards a more workable system.

He denied it was backsliding on a key conservation measure.

The ban was part of a new deal on fishing quotas and industry rules reached after negotiations in Brussels.

It came into force in January for species such as herring and mackerel, and will take effect in January 2016 for cod and haddock.

Researchers from the University of Strathclyde had previously said the ban would be difficult to comply with.

They said that reducing waste and improving fish stocks was uncertain.

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