1.As part of the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy agreed in 2013, Member States committed “to land all catches … of species which are subject to catch limits”. Known as the landing obligation, the aim of this measure was to “reduce the current high levels of unwanted catches and to gradually eliminate discards”. It is estimated that, prior to the introduction of the landing obligation in 2013, 1.7 million tonnes of fish and other marine animals were discarded in EU fisheries each year.
2.The Regulation recognised that “unwanted catches and discards constitute a substantial waste and negatively affect the sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources and marine ecosystems and the financial viability of fisheries”.
3.The landing obligation was phased in gradually from 2015 and came into force in full on 1 January 2019. In November and December 2018, the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, whose members are listed in Appendix 1, took evidence from the fishing industry, researchers, environmental groups and Government on the impact of the landing obligation during the phasing-in period and on how prepared the UK was for full implementation. The resulting report, published in February 2019, raised a number of concerns about the effect the new rules could have on the UK fishing industry and questioned whether enforcement agencies would be able to monitor compliance.
4.Given these concerns, in May and June 2019 the Sub-Committee took evidence on the first six months of the landing obligation being fully in force. We are grateful to those who gave oral evidence and to those who provided written contributions, all of whom are listed in Appendix 2.
5.We make this report to the House for debate.
1 Council Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (, 28 December 2013)
3 ClientEarth et al, Joint NGO priorities on the revision of the EU Fisheries Control System (October 2018): [accessed 13 June 2019]
4 Council Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (, 28 December 2013)
5 European Union Committee, (26th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 276)