Project Details


In the EU there is intensive data collection of by-catch and discard onboard commercial vessels, but until now there have been few attempts to describe the general patterns in these data, and still less to understand the factors that determine what and how much is discarded. However, the latter step is key if we are to develop operational indicators and propose mitigation tools for fisheries management. There is especially a need to investigate the effectiveness of mitigation methods that have been implemented in the past, primarily as technical regulations, including gear modification. This has to be done at the scale of the fishery: many gear modifications showed to make a difference in field trials, however there have been few studies about the way fishers used these modified gears, and the real impact it had on catch and discards on the fleet scale.

The project developed along five main steps:
- A descriptive analysis of total catch in terms of species and size composition, based on the data collected onboard EU vessels under the Data Collection Regulation. This included a quantification of spatial and temporal distribution and abundance of discards.
- The development of indicators of discard issues: indicators of discard state (amounts and characteristics of discards), of the pressures that determine discards (selectivity of fishing), and of the management responses to this issue.
- An analysis of the factors that determine discard amounts, including environmental settings, year-class strength, community composition, and fishing practices. This included an examination of the efficiency of technical regulations currently in force, and retrospective analyses of the efficiency of such measures in the past.
- An analysis of socio-economic and institutional drivers and incentives that influence fishers’ behaviour in regard to selectivity and discard.
- Based on all previous steps, the elaboration of potential mitigation measures. Beyond technical measures, integrated approaches that will remove or at least reduce incentives to discard were explored.

The project was coordinated by Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Greece and funded by EU, MariFish, ERA-NET.

Research area: Fisheries Technology
Effective start/end date01/01/201001/04/2013

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia (Project partner)
  • Wageningen University & Research (Project partner)
  • Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (Project partner)
  • Aalborg University (Project partner)
  • Cefas Weymouth Laboratory (Project partner)
  • Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Project partner)


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