Legislate to oblige fishers to retain and land all catch of species managed by quotas
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
In commercial fisheries, fish are returned back into the sea after capture, or discarded, for a number of reasons including fish being too small, of no/low value, or because the fisher has already met their maximum allowed catch (quota) for a species. Discarding is widely considered a wasteful practice if the fish is dead upon capture or is likely to die once returned (Condie et al. 2014). Legislation has recently come into force in European fisheries, obliging fishers to retain all (e.g. all sizes etc) catches of commercially-caught quota species (although a few exemptions exist, such as if there is clear evidence a species is likely to survive post-release). Historically, discarding of rockfish in the British Columbia groundfish trawl fishery has been prohibited, as well as a full discard ban in the Faroe Island fisheries (Condie et al. 2014) and a discard ban for Pacific cod and pollock in the US Alaskan groundfish fisheries. The aim is that banning discarding will incentivise fishers to operate more selectively, using gear which help avoid capture of small or unwanted fish in the first place.
Condie H.M., Grant A. & Catchpole T.L. (2014) Incentivising selective fishing under a policy to ban discards; lessons from European and global fisheries. Marine Policy, 45, 287–292.