The DiscardLess team from the Azores organized in March 2018, together with the Azores Regional Government, a meeting on the implementation of the Landing Obligation (LO) in the Region, and in particular on the bottom longline fishery. The main objective was to present the progresses and achievements of the DiscardLess project in the Azores, specifically focusing on the information available that could potentially support exemptions to the LO.
With a total of 13 attendees, including fishermen associations representatives, fisheries managers, NGO representatives and researchers, all stakeholders were represented. Members of the DiscardLess project from other case studies were also present and provided some insights on the implementation of the LO elsewhere.
The meeting began with 4 short presentations, all of them followed by questions from the audience. The 1st presentation, given by the project leader, Clara Ulrich, provided a quick overview of the Discardless project, the main achievements and highlights from the different WPs to date. It was followed by a presentation by two members of the scientific team from the Azores case study, Telmo Morato and Laurence Fauconnet, who displayed some of the work undertaken in the Azores as part of the DiscardLess projet, specifically focusing on the relevant scientific information that could support requests for LO exemptions. Luis Rodrigues and Alexandra Guerreiro, representatives of the Regional Government of the Azores, then presented the government perspective on the LO. Finally, Gualberto Rita, president of the Azorean Fisheries Federation, and Jorge Gonçalves, president of the Azorean Association of producers of demersal species (APEDA) gave the fisheries perspective about the LO.
Followed a discussion in which all the attendees participated, focusing mainly on the challenges and risks of the implementation of the LO in Azores fisheries, and potential for exemptions. The meeting was closed with a summary of the ways forward.
Clara Ulrich, the project leader, nicely concluded this meeting by stating:
“It is a positive example here. The exemptions were made for case like this one [where there is high fishing selectivity, likely high potential for survival and limited alternatives]. This meeting goes in the sense of what was looking the regulation, i.e. to make the stakeholders speaking and working together.”