Report Open Access

Diagnosis of the inventory of the generated unavoidable unwanted catch

Viðarsson , Jónas R.; Bruno Iñarra, Bruno Iñarra; Begoña Pérez-Villarreal, Begoña Pérez-Villarreal; Larsen, Erling

Ulrich, Clara
San Martín, David; de Zárate, Alberto González; Guðjónsson, Þorlákur; Sigurðardóttir, Sigríður; Quetglas, Toni; Vermard, Youen

Executive Summary: This report is intended to contribute to a successful implementation of the landing obligation (LO) of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy of the EU. The work package focuses on how unavoidable, unwanted catches (UUC) can be utilised once they have been landed. The first step in that work is to provide an overview of current and expected supplies of UUC, where and when they will be landed, what are the available facilities and how the set-up is at the landing harbours to cope with changing supplies effected by the LO. This document addresses that by focusing on five selected fisheries, which will be key case studies in future work within the work package i.e. Bay of Biscay (landings in the Basque country), North Sea (Danish fleet) and Iceland. Landing and discarding statistics from the Mediterranean (bottom trawlers landing in Mallorca) and the English Channel (French fleet) are also analysed. The role of Iceland in this report is to provide an example of where a LO has been successfully in effect for decades.

Estimating future landings of what used to be discarded under a policy regime that obliged fishermen to discard UUC cannot realistically take into consideration changes in behaviour of fishermen that inevitably will occur. Once the LO is implemented the fishermen will change their practises, for example by avoiding areas with high volumes of UUC or by applying more selective fishing gear. The historic discard data can therefore only give indications on what UUC are likely to be landed in certain areas, as well as when and by which fleets.

The general results from all of the case studies is that relatively few species and fleets account for most of the discards. There are also in most fisheries very few harbours that stand out, representing vast majority of the discards. The available facilities are in most cases going to be sufficient to cope with changing supplies of catches intended for production of products for human consumption. Catches below Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) and other catches that cannot be utilised for direct human consumption will however present a challenge in many areas. Solutions for processing those materials will either have to be simple and inexpensive, or strategically located so that raw materials can easily be transported to them. The lessons learned from Iceland are that a successful implementation takes time and that economic incentives generally work best.

Safety criteria’s relevant for UUC utilisation are fairly straightforward and need to apply to established rules and regulations. There is a fundamental difference in requirements for UUC intended for direct human consumption and catches that are used for other purposes, but traceability and documentation verifying that the products are safe are always required. When it comes to quality criteria’s requirements can be more subjective, as long as the products are safe.

This is DiscardLess Project Delliverable Report 6.1 towards Strategies for the gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries.
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