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 discarding unwanted fish. In this paper the implementation process of the landing obligation in four European countries is compared. From this comparison it becomes clear that fishers are working on diminishing discards. However it also shows that for the legitimacy, and the effectiveness of policy it is not only vital to increase the influence of civil society actors, but also the participation of resource users. Their views, knowledge, and cooperation are vital for a successful implementation of the regulation. Otherwise, resistance become too high, and regulation becomes more symbolic than a tool for change.