Friday, 30 March 2012

Discards - a developing story

Discussion started by Yan Giron in LinkedIn

"I was on night work in last Feb 2012 and missed this position statement. Then came this famous discussion at the EP about discards. Again the French professionals' official view is to avoid by-catches and funny, today in Boulogne Sur Mer, it was astonishing how other European professionals support this type of measures, instead of a total ban discard. Then somebody showed me this document. Funny how it may be closed to our professionals' view regarding their reject of a total and overall ban discard. And that is what we received for that: a furious campaign from FishFight"
CFP Reform Discussion: Guess who said "The proposed discard ban is not a measure against discards, but an incentive to discard on land" ? That, if I am right, means "I don't support a discard ban" The discard ban is on the agenda because it is easy to relate to, even without too much knowledge about the substance. In that sense the “ban” is a good public driver for better management. If I may put the concept in a few boxes. First what do we want to obtain: “MSY-sustainability”, in a TAC/Quota management that entails setting targets – not to be exceeded but to count all catches against the quota, as WWF says: “ Fishermen must be held accountable for what they catch.” This is also the point of focus in the joint declaration: If fishermen must count all catches they will minimise discards whether done at sea or on the pier. Second a discard ban may be an add-on to full catch accountability – this will be an ethical consideration, it may put some additional pressure on “best utilization”, and it should be prudently phased in.

Thirdly you may notice that accounting fully for your outtake of our natural capital requires that the user (or fisher) documents his outtake, hence the requirement for CCTV etc (now being trialed on 70 vessels in DK, Germany, Netherlands and UK). Once all catches are accounted for quotas can be increased with the amount of calculated discards now being deducted before TAC-setting. In a phasing in model you would allow vessels with full documentation a quota without discard deduction. Vessel segments without CCTV would have to endure a “taxing” for the calculated discard. If these segments employ better practices and establish better data for science to reduce the discard estimate they benefit – eventually with full documentation the deduction is zero. A concrete target to strive for. Other efficient modalities can be considered.

Using incentivizing result based management will ensure the driver for better utilization of our stocks with the fishermen. They can and will do much better than to-day and the main challenge they must relate to is the choke species problem in certain mixed fisheries.

If I should relat to the TFC discussion: The reason the Commission wants TFC is to manage capacity - and the argument for managing capacity is that we don not manage total catches.

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