A landing obligation was formally implemented in the European Union (EU) for the first time, as part of the recent reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Given the reasonable success of the landing obligation in some countries such as the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway, this policy is seen as a viable approach to tackle the long-recognized discarding problem in EU waters. However, there has been some debate on whether there is sufficient evidence to support the feasibility of such a measure in the EU-CFP. The EU landing obligation will implicitly include all small-scale fisheries (SSF) provided the species captured are subject to catch limits or minimum sizes (in the case of the Mediterranean). SSF were included irrespective of the fact that the discarding problem in the EU has been historically associated with medium- to large-scale fleets (in particular largely mixed species trawl fisheries). Additionally, past experiences with a discard ban policy are still limited to specific countries and/or specific fisheries. This paper examined the appropriateness and feasibility of the recently implemented EU landing obligation in SSF. The effects in the long-term are unpredictable, but available evidence suggests that in the short to medium-term a landing obligation is likely to bring more negative social, economic and ecological impacts than benefits.
The research leading to this paper was funded by “EcoFishMan – Ecosystem-based Responsive Fisheries Management in Europe”, Project co-financed by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7–265401).
- Bycatch reduction
- Common Fisheries Policy
- Discard ban
- Small-scale fisheries