European fisheries ministers agreed to a plan aimed at tackling overfishing last week, but the deal disappointed environmental campaigners by failing to agree on an outright ban on the practice of discarding healthy fish at sea. Ministers agreed to end discards, but the ban will be phased in from 2015 rather than this year, and fleets will still be allowed to discard up to five percent of their catch, as ministers argued some inadvertent catch was unavoidable. Some member states pushed for an allowable discard rate up to ten percent, while Sweden pushed for a zero discard rate. In addition, though quotas will be based on scientific evidence on what is the "maximum sustainable yield" for each species, there is no date for when stock levels must be restored, a key goal for environmental campaigners. Important aspects of management will also be left to member states rather than decided centrally at Brussels. Under the current text, the ban will go into effect in 2015 for pelagic fish and other fisheries in 2016. While some fisheries ministers praised the final agreement, the fisheries advisor at Greenpeace said that the measure could not be regarded as an outright ban. "This has pushed the door open enough to a better agreement," she said. "It is not a failure, but it depends on finding common ground on the detail, and that remains a challenge for the coming weeks." For the full story, see