UPDATE New fisheries policy unveilled for Lowestoft, Southwold and Great Yarmouth fishermen

The European Commission has unveilled its proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy today to try and preserve fish stocks.

If approved a new quota system form 2013 will see the end of the controversial practice of discarding fish back into the North Sea as a whole catch would count against quotas.

Currently fishermen in Lowestoft, Southwold and Great Yarmouth have to throw back a large part of their catch back in to the sea.

It is estimated 50pc of all fish caught it he North Sea are thrown back dead.

Last year one Lowestoft fisherman reported to have discarded 1,300kg of skate in five days of fishing.

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Fish are discarded for several reasons.

A fisherman may catch a different type of fish than the one he intends to catch, for which he does not have a quota; or because he catches fish not restricted by quotas but for which there is no market; or because he has inadvertently caught more than his quota.

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A trawlerman does not know how much fish he will haul up and if he goes over his quota will have to discard healthy fish.

The new quotas will be phased in with new regulations applied to mackerel, herring and tunas from 2014.

Other fish species, including cod, will follow between 2015 and 2016.

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