Southern European Fisheries and researchers have met in Egersund (Norway) to learn about Norwegian capture technology.

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New discard plans adopted for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

The Commission has adopted today two Delegated Regulations establishing discard plans for certain demersal fisheries in the Mediterranean and in the Black Sea. Discarding is the practice of returning unwanted catches to the sea, either dead or alive, either because they are too small, the fisherman has no quota, or because of certain catch composition rules.

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New landing obligations adopted for the Atlantic and the North Sea

This month the Commission adopted three Delegated Regulations establishing discard plans for certain demersal fisheries and one for pelagic fishery. Discard plans are a temporary measure facilitating the phase-out of discards and the phase-in of a new region-specific style of fisheries management.

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On July 14 and 15, fishermen, scientists, government representatives and WWF met in Blanes & Roses, Catalunya to discuss the progress of the MINOUW project.

“The first results of the project are very promising. Not only we have seen a strong participation of fishermen, but also a very strong will from their part to solve the discards issues. They have started to share ideas with other fishermen and scientists in different countries and other stakeholders to solve the problem of discard. In addition, an app was developed and they will help scientists to collect discards data on a on a voluntary basis, declared Francesc Maynou, Project Leader.

“The MINOUW project is a really interesting example of collaboration and cooperation and dialogue between the fishing sector and the scientific community. It’s not just about sitting around and talking together, but it’s about trying new projects to promote greater selectivity. MINOUW is a perfect example on a pan European scale to measure needs for local fisheries”, said Elisa Roller, Head of Unit at Directorate General Maritime and Fisheries Affairs, European Commission.

The discard ban and its impact on the MSY objective on fisheries-the North Sea

The Workshop on "The discard ban and its impact on the Maximum Sustainable Yield objective on fisheries" of 16 th June 2016, organised by the Committee on Fisheries (COMPECH) and the Policy Department B (PECH Research) of the European Parliament is structured in three parts:
1 The discard ban and its impact on the MSY objective-The North Sea
2. The discard ban and its impact on the MSY objective-The Atlantic Ocean: The Bay of Biscay case
3. The discard ban and its impact on the MSY objective-The Baltic Sea
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HIGH LEVEL EVENT MINOUW, Opening Social Solutions

Location: Blanes, 14 - 15 July 2016

"Science, Technology, and Society Initiative to minimize Unwanted Catches in European Fisheries" - A stakeholders engagement process with fishermen, scientists and decisions from Spain, Portugal, Italy, EC.

Activity aiming at self-monitoring of new discards-reducing measures

A new APP facility for Smartphone has been developed at Mallorca for real time reporting of fisheries catches. Moreover, IMEDEA (CSIC) and DGMRM have set up a protocol for sampling of target species and unwanted catches using trammel nets. This protocol is implemented in an APP and has been used as tool during sampling on board the small scale fleet.

Within the project Minnow it is foreseen the use of technologies based on smartphone applications for environmental and biodiversity monitoring, therefore with the specific goal of simplifying the collection information during fishing activities, we customized a CyberTracker application for surveying catches using an existing software CyberTracker ( . The Application is a simple data manager, consisting in an editor of a field note, taking a photo, recording voice and capturing time, date and GPS position. The APP is now developed for trammel net sampling albeit it can be easily modified for other gears.

Injury, reflex impairment, and survival of beam-trawled flatfish

Under the “high survival” exemption of the European landing obligation or discard ban, monitoring vitality and survival of European flatfish becomes relevant to a discard-intensive beam trawl fishery. The reflex action mortality predictor (RAMP) method may be useful in this context. It involves scoring for the presence or absence of natural animal reflexes to generate an impairment score which is then correlated with post-release or discard mortality. In our first experiment, we determined suitable candidate reflexes for acclimated, laboratory-held European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and common sole (Solea solea). In a second experiment, we quantified reflex impairment of commercially trawled-and-handled plaice and sole in response to commercial fishing stressors. In a third experiment, we tested whether a combined reflex impairment and injury (vitality) score of plaice was correlated with delayed post-release mortality to establish RAMP. Five-hundred fourteen trawled-and-discarded plaice and 176 sole were assessed for experimentally confirmed reflexes such as righting, evasion, stabilise, and tail grab, among others. Of these fish, 316 plaice were monitored for at least 14 d in captivity, alongside 60 control plaice. All control fish survived, together with an average of 50% (±29 SD) plaice after being trawled from conventional, 60 min trawls and sorted on-board a coastal beam trawler. Stressors such as trawl duration, wave height, air, and seawater temperature were not as relevant as a vitality score and total length in predicting post-release survival probability. In the second experiment where survival was not assessed, reflex impairment of plaice became more frequent with prolonged air exposure. For sole, a researcher handling-and-reflex scoring bias rather than a fishing stressor may have confounded results. Scoring a larger number of individuals for injuries and reflexes from a representative selection of trawls and trips may allow for a fleet-scale discard survival estimate to facilitate implementation of the discard ban.

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MINOUW Second Annual Meeting -- 2016.01.05

The Second Annual Meeting of the MINOUW project is scheduled for 29 Feb - 4 March 2016 in Olhão (Algarve, Portugal), organized by the Centre for Marine Science (CCMAR).


Reducing discards in a temperate prawn trawl fishery: a collaborative approach to bycatch research in South Australia

We present the outcomes of a collaborative research programme tasked with reducing bycatch, and thus discards in a temperate Australian prawn trawl fishery. Sea trials in the Gulf of St Vincent, South Australia, assessed the performance of a modified trawlnet that incorporated a rigid polyethylene grid and a T90-mesh codend. Compared with conventional designs, the modified net yielded marked reductions in bycatch (cumulatively >81% by weight), with pronounced decreases in sponge (92%), elasmobranchs (80%), teleost fish (71%), molluscs (61%), and crustaceans (78%). Using commercial logbook data, we estimate that the use of modified nets could reduce discards by ∼240 tons per year. This outcome was achieved with moderate declines in the catch rate (kg h−1) of the target species, Western King Prawn (mean ∼15%), of which almost all were small adults of low commercial value. Adoption of the modified net by industry was realized in March 2012, because it met environmental objectives (i.e. reducing bycatch and improving public perceptions of sustainability), reduced prawn damage, demonstrated commensurate financial returns, and engaged stakeholders throughout the development process. Overall, the project provides a useful example of bycatch research with demonstrable outcomes of improving the ecological and economic sustainability of prawn harvests.

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