On Tuesday 26 June, Ricardo Serrão Santos, vice-chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, hosted an event entitled “The landing obligation and discards’ survivability: How to assess and improve discards’ survival?”.
The EU’s landing obligation (discard ban) is a major measure of the latest reform of the Common Fisheries Policy for EU fisheries. It aims to reduce unwanted catches in EU fisheries, by incentivising improved selectivity and restoring fish stocks to levels that can sustain the maximum production over time without harming the biodiversity and the capacity of future generations to obtain fish. However, banning discards inevitably induces diverse short- and long-term ecological, economic and social impacts, which may determine whether the landings obligation’s objectives will be achieved.
Since 2015, the landing obligation is being implemented on a gradual basis. Each fishery has its own specificities and differences which makes the implementation of the landing obligation a major challenge for fisheries management. Species for which scientific evidence demonstrates high survival rates are eligible for an exemption to the landing obligation.
At this event, recent research results from a project funded through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) on discards survival of flatfish and rays in pulse trawling were presented. Policy-makers and stakeholders gathered to discuss issues such as measuring discards survival, improving discards survival, and the improvements in selectivity based on both technical development and other measures, with a focus on fishing gear.