Eliminating Discards in Fisheries
EDF | 2016-2018
I am a co-author of EDF's Eliminating Discards Guide, which discusses different design options to help fishery managers, fishermen and other stakeholders achieve a shared goal to reduce, and even eliminate, discarding practices in a fishery with secure fishing rights.
Being forced to dump perfectly good fish overboard—seafood that could otherwise be served on someone’s dinner table whether in high demand or not—has been an unavoidable practice for fishermen around the world for decades. This practice, “discarding,” is one that is abhorred by both the fishing industry and environmental groups. While the exact scale of discarding is unknown, a large amount of fish is discarded annually. It has been estimated that each year roughly 6.8 million tons of fish are discarded globally (Kelleher, 2005). That is about eight percent of all fish caught by commercial fishermen.
Inspired by this challenge and the European Union's landing obligation, which bans discarding as part of its Common Fisheries Policy
(CFP) reform, EDF originally released the EU Discard Reduction Manual to help provide tools and solutions to help fisheries meet the landing obligation.
Over the past few years, we have been working to adapt and rewrite this manual so that it is more broadly relevant to fisheries around the world, not just in the EU. This manual is an important addition to the Fishery Solutions Center's core set of manuals for designing and implementing secure fishing rights.