Friday, 15 July 2016

IIFET 2016: -= Industry innovation + Landing Obligation = profitable, discard-free future?

Environmental Defense Fund examines how the fishing industry is already adapting, innovating and beginning to overcome the challenges posed by the ‘discard ban’.

“It is possible to prosper with increased selectivity” was the take-home message from a dynamic panel session held yesterday at the International Institute for Fisheries Economics & Trade (IIFET) by Environmental Defense Fund Europe. Fisherman Peter Olsson of the Swedish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation – quoted above – spoke of his experiences mitigating choke species to remain prosperous under the Landing Obligation, saying:

“We just need to make use of the tools available. With the right combination of tools and policy measures we can create the right conditions for sustainability and strong businesses.”

Olsson was one of a range of speakers contributing to a special panel – part of IIFET’s tailored “Industry and Policy” day – on the theme: “Adapt, improvise and overcome: fishermen’s responses to the Landing Obligation”. Panel Chair, Dr Erik Lindebo, economist and Senior Consultant to Environmental Defense Fund, led a wide-ranging discussion of tools and approaches being applied across Europe that can offer support as industry moves towards full implementation of the Landing Obligation by 2019. 

Fellow panelist and UK fisherman, David Stevens (Crystal Sea, Newlyn) added:
“The collaborative approach to implementation is truly worthwhile. When you give fishermen the ability and incentive to deal with the issues themselves, they are able to come up with the best solutions. Fishermen need the freedom to take control of their fisheries.”

Commenting on the lively discussion, Dr. Lindebo said: “The Landing Obligation has represented a huge change in the fishing landscape, and will continue to do so. But we’re surrounded by optimistic, pragmatic solutions that can make a difference, especially to mitigate some of the all-important choke problems. The key now is to ensure fishing industry and policy are on the same page when it comes to fully utilising the management toolbox, allowing innovation and best-practice to come to the fore via the simplest route possible”.

The in-depth discussion covered small-scale fisheries, scientific perspectives, and in-depth industry comment on the future of fishing under the LO. The importance of the processing sector was also underlined, as David Parker of Young’s Seafood highlighted the entrepreneurial talent within the sector, and the value this offers to supply-chain innovation, including at the ‘business end’ of catching. Parker presented in detail on Young’s collaborative new project ‘Trawlight’: an initiative using sea-water activated lights, and ‘escape holes’ in gear, to reduce unwanted juvenile and choke catches.

Mike Park, of the Scottish Whitefish Producers’ Association, and Clara Ulrich of DTU-AQUA, National Institute of Aquatic Resources and DISCARDLESS, also joined in the debate – underlining the importance of taking a positive approach in searching out the best ways to deliver a secure fishing future for industry.

Offering his thoughts at the end of the session, Chair Dr Lindebo reflected: “There are significant challenges with the Landing Obligation. But with a varied toolbox of methods, and industry expertise at our disposal we can begin to tailor appropriate solutions. It is of fundamental importance that the fisheries sector and all other stakeholders are on board with the process, all across Europe.”

(IIFET2016 Aberdeen – June 14, 2016).

The conference agenda:

Wild Capture Fisheries


  • Adaptations to evolving governance
  • International fisheries management & models of co-operation
  • Hierarchies of fishing rights allocations – country, producers organisations & individuals
  • Bio-economic modelling – estimating the present value of different harvesting strategies
  • Adoption & adaptation of technical measures to improve resilience & profitability
  • Ecosystems based management, MPAs


  • New species – salmon and more?
  • New processes – onshore and seawards?
  • Capture based acquaculture
  • New products – farming not only for food?
  • New markets – emerging alternatives


  • Integration of captured & farmed raw material supplies
  • The reformed CFP and its emergent supply chain of discards
  • Delivering sustainability through alternative processes and products

Seafood Logistics

  • Fish welfare and the addition of value
  • Landing live
  • Flying fresh
  • Net-based logistics – challenging traditional supply chain models 


  • Improving understanding through innovative use of available, but ignored, market data
  • Seafood segmentation and positioning strategies
  • Envisioning, shaping and communicating future markets
  • Shifting global power – implications for trade


  • The emergent importance of sustainability labels & other attributes in seafood purchase and consumption decisions
  • Consumption of Authentic and Adulterated products
  • Improving health though fish consumption – limits to gains?


  • Fish versus competing animal proteins – swimming against agricultural tide
  • Economics of recreational fisheries
  • Implications of fish stock responses to climate change for the seafood sector – new global value chains?
  • Sea level change and the emerging submergence of seafood infrastructure
  • Promoting integration – policy lessons from theory and practice

Special Feature:

Industry & PolicyDay

  • Fishing business owners and policy makers from across northern Europe  take part in a day of policy-relevant discussion panels, workshops and presentations
  • Can economics help resolve policy challenges?
  • Discussion of the key emergent outcomes from previous sessions regarding the future co-operation and integration of seafood stakeholders:
Wild capture fisheries
Seafood logistics
The business of fishing  - a film made by Seafish

 Special Sessions (Open)

  •  Economics of Protected Resources  
  • Fisheries, Aquaculture and Global Food Security
  • The economics of a discard ban policy
  • Payments for Ecosystem Services in fisheries and aquaculture – A rose by any other name?
  • Transdisciplinary research in fishery science – are we making progress influencing policy making? 
  • Present and Emerging Arctic Fisheries  
  • Unlocking the sustainable wealth potential of aquatic resources and ecosystems: Beyond traditional commercial fisheries management  
  • ‘SUCCESS: Reinforcing the competitiveness of the seafood sector’  
  • Game theory and fisheries  
  • Innovations in governance of highly migratory and transboundary fisheries   
  • Fishing Cost Data Collection and Implications in Fisheries Management  
  • Sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture: the multidisciplinary approach as a key for success 
  • Economics of Bycatch
  • Recognising and Assessing Social and Economic Values in Fisheries 
  • Gender Research as a New Frontier in Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics: In the Footsteps of Rosemary Firth 
  • The Ghosts of Adam Smith: The Past, Present, and Future of Fishery Subsidies  
  • Measuring and managing risk-taking and safety in commercial fishing  

 Special Sessions (Closed)

  •  Analyzing behavioral responses to regulation – what can be learned for management?
  • Improving Food Security and Reducing Poverty through Intra-regional Fish Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa  
  • Creating shared value through stakeholders’ involvement to strengthen the seafood competitiveness
  • Economics of Bycatch
  • Gender Research as a New Frontier in Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics: In the Footsteps of Rosemary Firth  
Please note that some sessions are still be to confirmed and the final list may be different.