Minimising discards in Danish fisheries (MINIDISC) (39020)

Project Details


The landings obligation, currently being implemented in the new CFP, puts major constraints on fishers, by making the landing of unwanted catch mandatory. Less restrictive technical rules (TR) in a results-based management frame under Catch Quota Management (CQM) have been suggested as a mechanism to release some of these constraints. To investigate the effects of the existing TR, some fishers were relaxed from TR during the trial and could freely choose and develop alternative gears, aiming to optimize annual catch value, while reducing discards. The study included 14 demersal fishing vessels, operating in the North Sea, Skagerrak and the Baltic Sea.

Fishers used test and control gears interchangeably or in pairs during up to 6 months and were required to sort and weigh all discard of seven common target species on a haul by haul basis. All vessels were equipped for Fully Documented Fisheries (FDF), including cameras. Collected data were analyzed to investigate differences in landings, discards, discard ratio, CPUE, VPUE and DPUE, between conventional (control) and new gears (test). The results showed a varying degree of success, depending both on area and on choices made by the individual fisher. The best results were observed in the Baltic Sea, where relaxing technical rules led to major improvements in fishing patterns. But gear changes did not contribute much in fisheries where initial discards rates were already low. Interviews realized with the skippers around the end of the trial were performed and analyzed to investigate (i) their experiences with “free” choice of gear, (ii) the processes that they followed for developing their gears and (iii) their tools for evaluating the efficiency and selectivity of their trial.

In addition to the trial, a number of other activities were performed under the MINIDISC project, including (i) the publishing of a catalogue (in Danish) of the selectivity devices experimented in Danish fisheries, (ii) a scientific selectivity trial on Danish seines fisheries in Skagerrak and (iii) a review of international experiences in the uptake of selective devices.

The project has been disseminated through several meetings and conferences. A number of scientific publications are in review or close to submission.

This project was coordinated by DTU Aqua and funded by the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and the Fisheries and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).

Research area: Fisheries Management
Research area: Fisheries Technology
Research area: Marine Living Resources
Effective start/end date01/01/201415/07/2015