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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY INITIATIVE TO MINIMIZE
UNWANTED CATCHES IN EUROPEAN FISHERIES (MINOUW)

The complexity of the problem of banning discards and bringing all unwanted catches to land makes it necessary to follow a multi-actor approach, whereby scientists, fisheries technologists, fish producers and NGOs work collaboratively to provide the scientific and technical basis to achieve the gradual elimination of discards in European marine fisheries. The project’s overall objective is to minimise unwanted catches by incentivising the adoption of fishing technologies and practices that reduce pre-harvest mortality and post-harvest discards, while avoiding damage to sensitive marine species and habitats. The general approach is based on technical/technological and socioeconomic solutions on a case-by-case analysis of the main types of European fisheries. The project will analyze existing and potential discard-mitigating innovative technologies in workshop roundtables with participation of fishers, technologists and scientists. The technologies selected will be tested in field trials to experimentally assess their efficiency: among other, improved precatch identification with observational technologies, pre-harvest loss reduction by gear modification and switching to low impact gear, and use of artificial light to take advantage of selective attraction/avoidance reactions of marine organisms. The results will be analyzed in terms of technological advances, marketability and cost-benefit analysis. Other actions included in the project are social and economic instruments to incentivise selective fishing and discourage discarding practices, such as ecolabelling, fisheries certification and promoting awareness among industry and consumers, and mathematical modelling of ecosystem effects of unwanted catches reduction.

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.

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%).

Shifting gears: assessing collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters

Problems with fisheries are usually associated with overfishing; in other words, with the deployment of “too many” fishing gears. However, overfishing is not the only problem. Collateral impacts of fishing methods on incidental take (bycatch) and on habitats are also cause for concern. Assessing collateral impacts, through integrating the knowledge of a wide range of fisheries stakeholders, is an important element of ecosystem management, especially when consensual results are obtained.

Training exchange in Viareggio

WWF is in charge of organizing 3 participatory meetings in the field (one per year) tailored to the exchange of experiences between participants fishers. The first of these workshops /exchanges took place from 28-30 July 2015 in Viareggio (Italy), on the selectivity of trammel fishing operations. Ten small-scale fishers attended, as well as scientists, WWF staff and a representative from a fishermen's association. Areas represented included Tuscany, the Algarve, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands. Participants studied the Selvedge technique – known locally as greca. It is customarily used in prawn fishery (“mazzancolla”, Penaeus kerathurus) to avoid the capture of crabs (Liocarnus vernalis) in shallow, sandy fishing grounds. It consists of a narrow strip of enmeshing net (typically 30 cm) sewn to the bottom of the trammel net, which somehow “lifts up” the gear, making it more difficult for demersal crabs to get caught in the net. The technique works effectively only under good weather conditions, and as long as target species are not of the demersal type remailing very close to the sea floor (like sole for example), as it would strongly reduce their capture. Besides crabs, the greca can also reduce the by-catch of juvenile fish of some species. Overall, the use of greca significantly reduces the quantity of target species caught, but fishers think it is a good trade-off because it spares the nuisance of having to disentangle crabs from the net.

Entrenching environmental obligation in marine regulation

The institutional frameworks addressing issues in connection with the marine commons agreed by States are set out in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which is the basis of the European Union’s common fisheries policy. Despite a substantial body of environmental legislation, provisions concerning the protection of ecosystems and bioversity have not been incorporated into any international measure or EU to control fishing, leading to ecosystem degradation.

An alternative reference point in the context of ecosystem-based fisheries management: maximum sustainable dead biomass

Under the 2013 Reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), fisheries management aims to ensure that, within a reasonable time frame, the exploitation of marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested stocks above levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The CFP also calls for the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management (EBFM).

Is Europe ready for a results-based a pproach to fisheries management? The voice of stakeholders

The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), adopted by the European Union in 2013, aims to achieve sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Beyond the mainstream of stakeholders׳ engagement, the literature increasingly calls for shared accountability in fisheries management. In such scenarios, identifying stakeholders׳ insights becomes critical for a successful design of innovative management approaches. This paper analyses how the stakeholders perceive a results-based management system for four fisheries in different European sea-basins as well as at a pan-European level.

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