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Title: Discarding in UK commercial fisheries
Author: Condie, Harriet
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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Discarding, or returning unwanted catch to the sea, is a common feature of European fisheries, and is widely acknowledged as morally wrong. It wastes food and economic resources, and has contributed to overfishing in EU stocks. However, under the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), catch that is below minimum landings sizes, exceeds quota, or does not match catch composition regulations must be discarded. The high profile of discarding in recent years has put pressure on the European Commission (EC) to reform the CFP. A key objective is to eliminate discards and reduce unwanted catches. A discard ban and catch quotas for regulated species will be implemented. The EC argues that this will create strong incentives for more selective fishing, but little supporting evidence from EC fisheries is available. This thesis aims to present such evidence. A desk based analysis of a number of global fisheries found that a discard ban in isolation created little or no incentive to avoid unwanted catches; supporting measures were required to encourage more selective fishing practices. Analysis of the potential impact of introducing a discard ban on English North Sea otter trawlers supported this finding. Models using economic, logbook and observer data showed that the cost of capturing unwanted catch is minimal unless a cap is placed on total catches. Catch quotas cap fishing mortality, creating a strong incentive to reduce catches of limiting species. This incentive is unequally distributed between and within fleets, and is strongest for the least selective vessels. If catch compositions are not adjusted to match available quota, substantial reductions in revenue could occur. So under the reformed CFP discards of regulated species could be eliminated, the cost of catching unwanted fish will be passed onto the fishers, and strong incentives for more selective fishing practices will be generated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available