Incentivising selective fishing under a policy to ban discards; lessons from European and global fisheries

Harriet Condie, A. Grant, T.L. Catchpole

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The reduction of discards in European fisheries has been identified as a specific objective of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy. To reduce the uncertainty in catch data and the socially unacceptable waste of resources that results from the disposal of catch at sea, a policy to ban discards has been proposed. Discard bans are currently implemented in Alaska, British Columbia, New Zealand, the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland. Experience from these countries highlights that a policy of mandatory landings can result in a reduction in discards, but relies upon a high level of surveillance or economic incentives to encourage fishers to land more of their catch. Discard bans will also not result in long term benefits to stocks unless total removals are reduced, through the avoidance of undersized, non-commercial or over quota catch. Experience shows that additional management measures are required to incentivise such a move towards more selective fishing. Success has resulted from the use of area closures and bycatch limits, with potential applications in EU fisheries. However, selective fishing will not be a panacea for the current state of European fisheries; discard bans and accompanying measures must be embedded in a wider management system that constrains fishing mortality to reasonable levels before sustainable exploitation can occur.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-292
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date4 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • Discard ban
  • Selective fishing
  • Catch quotas
  • Bycatch

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