Economic Repercussions of a Discard Ban in EU Fisheries

Economic Repercussions of a Discard Ban in EU Fisheries

John Anderson, Rod Cappell, Graeme Macfadyen, and Gordon Gislason

Economic Repercussions of a Discard Ban in EU FisheriesThis is part of Fisheries Bycatch: Global Issues and Creative Solutions
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The European Union (EU) under its reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has targeted the progressive elimination of discards in all EU fisheries through the introduction of a landings obligation. The landings obligation will apply to all species subject to quotas, but there are some exemptions and flexibilities built into the system, such as (1) quota increase to account for the conversion of discards to landings, (2) the use of target quota to cover bycatch species, and (3) the de minimis allowance to continue discarding in exceptional circumstances. This paper highlights some of the key economic challenges that the EU fleet will face following the introduction of the landings obligation including dealing with the restricting effect of so-called “choke” species and the lack of clarity surrounding the permitted flexibilities contained within the legislation. The analysis utilizes detailed financial modeling of three UK case study fleets over three years in order to shed light on the impacts of a discard ban in different operating circumstances. Ultimately, the way in which the landings obligation is interpreted by the European Commission and implemented by EU Member States could make the difference between continuing to fish and going out of business for some fleets.

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