Discarding in UK Commercial Fisheries

Condie, Harriet (2013) Discarding in UK Commercial Fisheries. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Abstract

Discarding, or returning unwanted catch to the sea, is a common feature of European fisheries,
and is widely acknowledged as morally wrong. It wastes food and economic resources, and has
contributed to overfishing in EU stocks. However, under the current Common Fisheries Policy
(CFP), catch that is below minimum landings sizes, exceeds quota, or does not match catch
composition regulations must be discarded.
The high profile of discarding in recent years has put pressure on the European Commission (EC)
to reform the CFP. A key objective is to eliminate discards and reduce unwanted catches. A
discard ban and catch quotas for regulated species will be implemented. The EC argues that this
will create strong incentives for more selective fishing, but little supporting evidence from EC
fisheries is available. This thesis aims to present such evidence.
A desk based analysis of a number of global fisheries found that a discard ban in isolation created
little or no incentive to avoid unwanted catches; supporting measures were required to
encourage more selective fishing practices. Analysis of the potential impact of introducing a
discard ban on English North Sea otter trawlers supported this finding. Models using economic,
logbook and observer data showed that the cost of capturing unwanted catch is minimal unless a
cap is placed on total catches. Catch quotas cap fishing mortality, creating a strong incentive to
reduce catches of limiting species. This incentive is unequally distributed between and within
fleets, and is strongest for the least selective vessels. If catch compositions are not adjusted to
match available quota, substantial reductions in revenue could occur.
So under the reformed CFP discards of regulated species could be eliminated, the cost of catching
unwanted fish will be passed onto the fishers, and strong incentives for more selective fishing
practices will be generated.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Mia Reeves
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2014 13:54
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2014 13:54
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/48716
DOI:

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