Report Open Access

Report on the available economic data related to discard, on bio-economic fishery models, on the current knowledge on discard incentives, perception, attitudes and resulting fisher behaviour and on knowledge gaps for all case studies fisheries

Frost, Hans; Hoff, Ayoe; Andersen, Peder

Ulrich, Clara
Cowie, Lewis; Needle, Coby; Graham, Norman

Executive Summary

The task is to ensure that the project builds on the best available information. Task 2.1 will review the most recent knowledge base of the economic and social aspects of discarding and will identify the most important gaps across all case studies.

The scope is to develop and apply an evaluation system that takes into account that economics (profit) is the main driver for the fishermen and how this impacts the behavior of the fishermen. The applied methodology analyses fishermen’s behavior, models and data that could be used to assess the economic consequences of the landings obligation. It is important to emphasize that the methodology must be based on solid economic theory. Discards of fish have been subject to concern in international fisheries conventions since the 50’es and 60’es. Empirical research about mitigating catches of unwanted species took place from the beginning of the 90’es with numerical economic analyses about effects of fishing gear changes (mesh sizes and panels). A conference about discard was organized by FAO in Japan in 1996. Theoretical work in a socio-economic context developed from the mid 90’es and it is useful to distinguish between two approaches 1) unwanted catches i. e. non-target species in open access and ITQ managed fisheries and 2) high grading, which is defined as discard of low value fish in order to maximize profit by making room for more valuable fish. As such, high grading will not take place until certain restrictions become binding.

The literature survey identified a number of reasons for discarding fish. To summarize, the incentive to discard depends on (in non-prioritized order): 1) Species composition in harvest 2) Price on fish 3) Processing costs on board the vessel 4) Catchability rates 5) Discard costs 6) Penalty for violation of rules 7) Probability of being detected 8) Management system 9) Impact on stock abundance 10) Distance to fishing grounds.

Models selected for assessing the repercussions of the landings obligations must comply with economic theory and be applicable with available data. The selected models are: Fishrent, LOEB, FLBEIA, MEFISTO and Fcube.

Case studies are reviewed. Among the nine cases of the project a number are selected for economic analyses. These cases are reviewed in terms of data availability and model applicability. Furthermore on-going national projects concerning the discard ban are identified. All selected models are designed to use cost and earnings data from the EU Data Collection Framework. This information is combined with information about fish stocks and magnitude of discard from ICES and national sources. The knowledge gaps are mainly associated with data concerning high-grading caused by physical limitations on board the vessel, which is considered to play a minor role for the current magnitude of discard compared to the other causes for discard.

This is DiscardLess Project Delliverable Report 2.1 towards Strategies for the gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries.
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