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Appropriate economic and social criteria to evaluate the Discard Mitigation Strategies and the defined management scenarios

Frangoudes, Katia; Guillen, Jordi

Executive Summary

In biological terms, a discard ban will be beneficial if total removals are reduced. From an economic perspective it is important that this reduction in total removals is done in a cost-effective way.

For a landing obligation to help to reduce or avoid discards, either a high level of surveillance or proper economic incentives to land the catch are needed. If a landing obligation is established but there are no incentives to avoid undersized fish, the exploitation pattern would remain unchanged and landings would include undersized individuals that would be otherwise discarded. In this case, the effort (or fishing mortality) that maximizes landings in weight (including undersized fish) will be higher than the effort (fishing mortality) that maximizes landings without the landing obligation (that did not include undersized fish). This happens because in the long-term higher fishing effort and fishing mortality level lead to lower average size of the individuals. If quotas are set accordingly to landing maximisation, this could lead to a lower biomass at sea and larger landings but a reduction of their average size.

For some fisheries a landing obligation could provide by itself (i.e., with no need of more measures) an incentive to improve selectivity, either because the storage capacity on board is constrained or because sorting time is too large. If fish that was previously discarded could be avoided, then compared to the current situation (with the same effort or quota level), landings above Minimum Landing Size (MLS) would increase together with the average weight of landings and the biomass at sea.

Hence, we identify the economic and social criteria to evaluate discard mitigation strategies. These criteria can be divided in three groups: changes in the economic performance, changes in employment, and changes in production. A series of parameters are provided, that need to be taken into account in order to measure the economic and social impacts of each Discard Mitigation Strategies (DMS) or of any other defined management scenario.

This is DiscardLess Project Delliverable Report 2.2 towards Strategies for the gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries.
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