Using inferred drivers of discarding behaviour to evaluate discard mitigation measures

T.L. Catchpole, Jordan P. Feekings, Niels Madsen, A. Palialexis, V. Vassilopoulou, J. Valeiras, T. Garcia, N. Nikolic, M.J. Rochet

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Discards refer to the part of the catch not retained on board during commercial fishing operations, but returned to the sea. The proposed
European Union Common Fisheries Policy reform, to be implemented in 2014, sets out a gradual elimination of discards by reducing unwanted
catches and ensuring that all catches are landed. To develop successful discard mitigation measures, it is necessary to identify the
reasons for discarding. Here, we have developed a simple model that can be applied to data from observer programmes (ObsPs) to establish
the contribution of different drivers of discarding behaviour. The analysis makes inferences on the causes of discarding by partitioning discards into four categories based on the length of the fish and the associated regulatory restrictions. The drivers are defined as: fish discarded below the legalminimum landing size; fish forwhich there is no market and that do not have aminimum landing size; fish for which there are inconsistencies in market and sorting practices; and discards that can be attributed to fishers’ responses to quota restrictions. The approach is applied to data generated from ObsPs from five EuropeanMember States. All the inferred drivers contribute to the total discard quantity. Their relative contributions vary widely across countries, areas, gears, and species
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1277-1285
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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