Synthesis of the landing obligation measures and discard rates (SANoBA) (39731)

Project Details


Article 15 of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Basic Regulation, which came into force on January 1st, 2014, introduced a phased discard ban or landing obligation (LO). The phasing period is complete, and in January 2019 the LO was fully implemented, covering all quota stocks in EU waters, and those with Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) in the Mediterranean. The change from a landing to a catch quota system aims to introduce a cap on fishing mortality whereby vessels are required to stop fishing when the quota for a stock has been exhausted even if quotas for other species are still available. This is commonly referred to as a choke event. Management anticipates that the potential of a choke event motivates fishers to changes in fishing behavior and practices, so that unwanted catches, undersized fish as well as quota limited stocks, will be avoided. Also,undersized fish cannot be directly used for human consumption and, therefore,the economic return from fish below MCRS is generally much lower than from the human consumption market. The transition towards a fully implemented catch quota regime can be very challenging for some fisheries. Therefore, the EU policy does include several exemptions from the LO, which means that rather than having to land all catches, some can be returned to the sea. These exemptions include species with high survival and de minimis exemptions (based on disproportionate landing costs and proven difficulty to improve selectivity).The de minimis exemptions are capped, whereby discarding is allowed up to a defined quantity, beyond which all unwanted fish should be landed. Furthermore, discarding of fish is also permitted when it has been damaged by predators, diseases or parasites, contaminated (e.g. by oil) or released as part of regular vessel tasks such as cleaning the gear. Under a fully implemented LO changes in discard patterns, landings composition and overall catches are predicted. If no changes in selectivity or fishing patterns take place and catch composition remains the same, previously discarded fish should now be landed. If effective measures were adopted to avoid unwanted catches, then a change in the catch composition should be observed, whereby small and quota limited stocks should be avoided.

The main aim of this specific contract is to identify and assess the integration of (management) measures put in place to facilitate the implementation of the LO, including the measures adopted by Member States (MSs) to ensure control, enforcement and the detailed and accurate documentation of all trips. To do so, the project is divided into 3 tasks:
- Task 1: Overview of fisheries management measures in relation to the landing obligation.
- Task 2: Identification of impact of the management measures that have been identified in Task 1.
- Task 3: Overview of control measures in relation to the landing obligation.

The project is coordinated by Wageningen Marine Research and is funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the Danish Fisheries Agency and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Research area: Fisheries Management
Effective start/end date05/02/202005/02/2021