LogoDiscardLess Strategies for the gradual elimination of discards in European fisheries

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 fishery, the discard ban can result in extra handling, storing and landing costs. In an output-regulated fishery, this policy might also limit the effort levels as all the catches count against the quota. In both cases, this regulation can reduce the economic performance of the companies, even in single-species fisheries. A possible solution is to increase the mesh size, thus retaining fewer small individuals. To study this option, a bioeconomic simulation of a change in the gear selectivity from 100- to 120-mm minimum mesh size (MMS) was performed. The results show that the private perspective (profits) does not change. Furthermore, due to the lower retention of 120 mm MMS, the efficiency of a fishing day was reduced by 5% and 2.5%, from the point of view of capital and labour productivity, respectively. In contrast, gross revenues increased by 1.5% and crew compensation by 2%. Given a societal benefit of this change in the mesh size, this gain could be re-distributed to provide an incentive for selectivity improvements.

Raúl Prellezo, Itsaso Carmona, Dorleta García, Luis Arregi, Jon Ruiz, Iñigo Onandia

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