UK learns from Chile on preparing for discard ban

Chile’s discard ban will come into force when the research programme has been completed. Credit: Christopher Michel/CC BY 2.0 Chile’s discard ban will come into force when the research programme has been completed. Credit: Christopher Michel/CC BY 2.0

The UK seafood industry has heard how industry collaboration is helping Chile to prepare for its forthcoming discard ban.

Although the Chilean Discard Law was introduced in September 2012, the law’s sanctions will not come into effect until a research programme has been completed, which will take a minimum of two years. Luis Cocas, from Chile’s Undersecretariat for Fisheries and Aquaculture, spoke at Seafish’s recent Discard Action Group (DAG) meeting on designing the research programme, which aims to help the industry manage discards in a better way and reduce the impact of the ban.

The research programme will be completed in the various fisheries with both the industrial and artisanal fleets. The program aims to quantify the extent of discards and bycatch and to identify the causes of discards. Vessels owners have agreed to let scientific observers onboard and to collaborate with them to monitor discards, and the skippers will also be required to fill out log books, regardless of the presence of an observer.

The results will be used in the near future to create a Reduction Plan; a set of measures to mitigate discards and incidental catches; such as training courses, development of a code of conduct for good fishing practices, improvements to current administrative and technical processes, development of new markets for discarded species, and incentives for the development of innovative gear solutions.

Mr Cocas said, “It was important that we designed a research program that worked for the industry as well as the government, and through a series of workshops and meetings we socialised the law, liaised with fishermen and implemented their feedback into the program to achieve a better acceptance.”

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