Success for discards trial

18 Jun 2013
The latest MMO discards trial has been a success. Credit: nef

The latest MMO discards trial has been a success. Credit: nef

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has released the results of UK discard trials which show that discards have been virtually eliminated in some species.

Discards of important stocks such as sole, cod, plaice, megrim and anglerfish have been drastically reduced in the trials carried out by the MMO through 2012 with North Sea and West Channel fishermen.

Seven vessels took part in the trials in the South West along with 12 in the North Sea. The boats were not permitted to discard any of the species in the trials, including those below the minimum size. They had to land all of the fish of these species that they caught so they all counted against their quota. Data from onboard monitoring equipment, including CCTV cameras, was used to check the conditions of the trial were adhered to.

Catches of undersized fish in the trial were also low, suggesting that boats are fishing more selectively.

“These successful trials show that we are leading the way to eliminate discards”, said Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon.

The report can be found here.

Fishery Average discard rate for UK vessels in 2011 (%) Trial discard rate (%) 
North Sea cod trawl fishery 18.5  0.1
Area VIIe sole beam trawl fishery   5.9 0.1
Area VIId and e plaice beam trawl fishery 4.9 0.6 
Area VII anglerfish beam trawl fishery   11.4 0.7
North Sea plaice fishery 8.2 0.0 
Western Hake beam trawl fishery 18.2 1.7 
Area VII megrim beam trawl fishery   10.6 0.6



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