DiscardLess Strategies for the gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries

-Researchers and stakeholders working together to reduce discards in European fisheries-

DiscardLess will help provide the knowledge, tools and technologies as well as the involvement of the stakeholders to achieve the gradual elimination of discarding. These will be integrated into Discard Mitigation Strategies (DMS) proposing cost-effective solutions at all stages of the seafood supply chain.

The first focus is on preventing the unwanted catches from ever being caught.

The second focus is on making best use of the unavoidable unwanted catch.

DiscardLess will evaluate the impacts of discarding on the marine environment, on the economy, and across the wider society. We will evaluate these impacts before, during and after the implementation of the landing obligation, allowing comparison between intentions and outcomes.

Researchers and stakeholders working together to reduce discards in European fisheries


DiscardLess - How do we get there?

This video describes necessary steps for achievement of DiscardLess goals.

Bioeconomic assessment of a change in fishing gear selectivity: the case of a single-species fleet affected by the landing obligation

The European Union Common Fisheries Policy has established a discard ban, which states that fish below a reference size cannot be sold directly for human consumption. In a fishing effort-regulated…


Report on meta-analyses of gear selectivity data in terms of gear design parameters, and of the verticaldistribution of fish as they enter trawls; sensitivity analysis of predictive methods to estimate selectivity for data poorspecies, and economic model to evaluate impact of selectivegears at vessel level

Selection by the codend has been the subject of much research over the past thirty years, with trials in artisanal and industrial fisheries around the world. These studies typically test only a few gears,…

DiscardLess - Second Annual Meeting - Rome, Italy 2017

Stakeholders and scientists met in Rome on 9-10 March 2017 to discuss the EU Landing Obligation.

Using trophic models to assess the impact of fishing in the Bay of Biscay and the Celtic Sea

Using the Bay of Biscay and Celtic Sea area as a case study, we showed how stock-assessments and trophic models can be useful and complementary tools to quantify the fishing…

Improving the ecological efficiency of the bottom trawl fishery in the Western Mediterranean: It’s about time!

The improvement of fishing technology has been detrimental to the sustainability of fisheries, which is particularly clear for the bottom trawl fishery. Reducing its environmental impact is a key point…

Inferring the annual, seasonal, and spatial distributions of marine species from complementary research and commercial vessels’ catch rates

The objective of this study is to analyse at fine scale the annual, seasonal and spatial distributions of several species in the Eastern English Channel (EEC). On the one hand,…

A meta-analysis of vertical stratification in demersal trawl gears

A meta-analysis is presented of fishing trials that use trawl gear with horizontal separator panels to direct fish into an upper or lower codend. The analysis is applied to eight…

Balanced harvesting can emerge from fishing decisions byindividual fishers in a small-scale fishery

Catching fish in proportion to their productivity, termed balanced harvesting, has been suggested as a basis for the ecosystem approach to fishing. Balanced harvesting has been criticized as uneconomical and…

Food-Web and Ecosystem Structure of the Open-Ocean and Deep-Sea Environments of the Azores, NE Atlantic

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive intends to adopt ecosystem-based management for resources, biodiversity and habitats that puts emphasis on maintaining the health of the ecosystem alongside appropriate human use of…

Predictive modeling of deep-sea fish distribution in the Azores

Understanding the link between fish and their habitat is essential for an ecosystem approach to fisheries management. However, determining such relationship is challenging, especially for deep-sea species. In this study,…

New modes of fisheries governance: Implementation of the landing obligation in four European countries

Fisheries policy is increasingly influenced by civil society organizations. The newest example of this is the formulation of the landing obligation, a regulation that should reduce the contested practice of…

Initial avoidance manuals by case study including tactical, strategic and gear based approaches agreed by scientists and fishers.

Skippers, owner/skippers and shore based managers representing a wide range of fisheries and countries (Ireland, Denmark, Spain-the Balearics, France-Eastern Channel, Greece-North Aegean Sea, and Portugal-Azores) were interviewed regarding their views…

Fishers’ opinions on marketization of property rights and the quota system in France

After many years of Common Fisheries Policies in the European Union, 88% of stocks are still being fished beyond their Maximum Sustainable Yield. While several Member States and the European…


Year 2 of the Landing Obligation: key issues in Mediterranean Fisheries. Policy Brief No. 2

The second Policy Brief provides an overview of the current status of the Landing Obligation in the Mediterranean. It summarises stakeholder experiences and concerns and highlights emerging barriers and opportunities with regard…

DiscardLess Stakeholders

In this video we explain the role of stakeholders along with their relation to the DiscardLess project.



Report containing identification and recommendations on innovative, applicable and practical solutions for on-board handling of unavoidable unwanted catches

The work presented in this report focuses on the four previously mentioned fleet types that provide a relatively good cross-section of important EU fleets that are to be heavily affected…


Selectivity in Trawl Fishing Gears

In this manual we describe the different stages of the fish capture process, highlight how different parts of the gear may influence selection and identify possible design changes which can…


  • FAO programme draft

    Our FAO 2017 conference programme is being finalized and we have already composed a draft, which has been made available here.

    FAO programme draft

Reducing discards without reducing profit: free gear choice in a Danish result-based management trial

The 2013 Common Fisheries Policy introduced a landing obligation on a range of species, bringing more focus on the full accountability of all catches. To investigate the potentials and challenges…


Effectiveness of fully documented fisheries to estimate discards in a participatory research scheme

A key challenge for fisheries science and management is the access to reliable and verifiable catch data. In science, the challenge is to collect reliable, precise and traceable data to…

Remote electronic monitoring and the landing obligation – some insights into fishers’ and fishery inspectors’ opinions

This study focuses on Danish fishery inspectors and on fishers with Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) experience, whose opinions are less well known. Their views on the landing obligation and on…


Year 1 of the Landing Obligation: key issues from the Baltic and Pelagic fisheries. Policy Brief No. 1

This DiscardLess policy brief focuses on initial experiences with implementation of the Landing Obligation in the Baltic and Pelagic fisheries. It summarises the discard plans in these fisheries, presents stakeholder…





Discard ban and balanced harvest: a contradiction?

Discard bans have been proposed as part of management policies aimed at balanced harvest (BH). Nationwide discard bans exist in several coun- tries, including Chile, the European Union, Norway, and…


Achieving maximum sustainable yield in mixed fisheries

Achieving single species maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in complex and dynamic fisheries targeting multiple species (mixed fisheries) is challenging because achieving the objective for one species may mean missing the…



The discard ban and its impact on the maximum sustainable yield objective on fisheries

This is the reference document of the Workshop on "The discard ban and its impact on the Maximum Sustainable Yield objective on fisheries" of 16th June 2016, organised by the…

DiscardLess introduction

Project coordinator and Professor Clara Ulrich, DTU Aqua, Denmark and two other project scientists describe the purpose of the scientific project 'DiscardLess', and explain some of the basic concepts and…

The bad, the good and the very good of the landing obligation implementation in the Bay of Biscay

Landing obligation (LO) has become a core element on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). In this work a bioeconomic simulation tool is used to anticipate the effects of LO in…


  • Newsletter No. 2, April 2016

    The DiscardLess project has already turned its first year! The partners met in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France during the first week of March 2016, to review the progresses achieved during this first…
    Newsletter No. 2, April 2016

DiscardLess - First Annual Meeting - Boulogne, France. March 2016

At the first annual meeting in Boulogne March 2016, the partners in the Discardless project met to discuss progress and upcoming challenges with the newly implemented landing obligation in European…

FEATURE ARTICLE - One year on: the landing obligation in Europe

The article looks at the effect the introduction of the landing obligation has had on EU fisheries for the last year. It tries to answer these questions: is the landing…

Fisheries, the inverted food pyramid

A global assessment of fishing patterns and fishing pressure from 110 different Ecopath models, representing marine ecosystems throughout the world and covering the period 1970 – 2007, show that human…

Balanced harvest: utopia, failure or a functional strategy?

Since “balanced harvest” was proposed in 2010 as a possible tool in the operationalization of the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF), the concept gained extensive international attention. Because maintaining ecosystem…

Maximizing fisheries yields while maintaining community structure

Under the ecosystem approach to fisheries, an optimal fishing pattern is one that gives the highest possible yield while having the least structural impact on the community. Unregulated, open-access African…

The Optimal Fishing Pattern

Conventional fisheries management encourages highly selective fishing patterns for various purposes, such as increase relative yield, reduce unwanted by‐catch, protect various species or sizes and rebuild ecosystems. Recent empirical and…

Diagnosis of the inventory of the generated unavoidable unwanted catch

Identification and analysis of current and expected supplies of unavoidable, unwanted catches (UUC) once the landing obligation has been implemented. The analysis includes a review of historical discards data, on…



Report on current practices in the handling of unavoidable, unwanted catches

The objective of this deliverable is to present basic back-ground information on discard mitigation issues and the available tools for battling the discard problem. Most of the discard issues and…


The Atlantic: our shared resource

The video is from "The Atlantic: our shared resource", which focused on cooperation across the Atlantic Ocean, primarily between Canada and USA, through the "Galway Statement". Here, several H2020 project coordinators were invited to…

Appropriate economic and social criteria to evaluate the Discard Mitigation Strategies and the defined management scenarios

Economic and social indicators (D2.2) :  in D2.2, the economic and social criteria to evaluate discard mitigation strategies are identified. These criteria can be divided in three groups: changes in…


Identification of standard ecosystem evaluation criteria for the assessment of the Discard Mitigation Strategies

Ecological indicators (D1.2) : In D1.2, DiscardLess defined the criteria and indicators to be used in determining the effects of discards on marine ecosystems. The indicators have been developed to…

Catalogue of selective devices tested in Danish Fisheries (in Danish)

In this report (In Danish) we gather knowledge and experience from fishing gear selectivity trials conducted in Danish waters over the last decade. The primary focus is on the by-catch of…

Report on the available economic data related to discard, on bio-economic fishery models, on the current knowledge on discard incentives, perception, attitudes and resulting fisher behaviour and on knowledge gaps for all case studies fisheries

Fishery scale (D2.1): D2.1 is a review of knowledge base of the economic and social aspects of and incentives to discarding. The review is based on (i) a literature survey…

Review on the current effect of discarding on fish stocks and marine ecosystems; on data, knowledge and models of discarding

Ecosystem-scale (D1.1) :  Discarding of aquatic organisms is a global problem in the world’s fisheries. The present document attempts to understand why discarding occurs, how discarding can be reduced, the…




Fate of discard trial

By Jordan Feekings and Ludvig Krag