The contribution of quota to the discards problem: a case study on the complexity of common megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis discarding in the northern North Sea

Paul Macdonald, Ian Cleasby, Chevonne Angus, Tara Marshall

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    Abstract

    The common megrim Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis is a commercially important, high-value flatfish species. Fromthe early 2000s, discarding of
    commonmegrimin the northernNorth Sea has been widespread. In this study,we investigated temporal variation inmegrim discarding in the
    mixed demersal fishery in the northern North Sea before, and following recent quota increases. Furthermore, logistic regression models were
    applied to investigate the effects of a range of explanatory factors on the probability of individual fish being discarded. Results indicate that
    discardingonthe vessels sampled has declinedfromanaverage of 54%of the total commonmegrimcatch in2009 to 20%in 2012.The decrease
    in total discardswas primarily a result of a decrease in the proportions of discards categorized by the crewassmall within the catches from0.39
    (+0.02 s.e.) in 2009 to 0.10 (+0.01 s.e.) in 2012.Model outputs also suggest that the likelihood of a fish being discarded decreases significantly
    (p , 0.001) with increasing quota. The currentmegrim total allowable catch serves only to regulate landings and does little to regulate fishing
    mortality. Additionally, the proposed reform of the CFP, including the move towards a discards ban and the implementation of maximum
    sustainable yield, raises a number of concerns that need to be addressed if the northern North Sea mixed demersal fishery is to be
    managed sustainably and remain economically viable in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1256-1265
    Number of pages10
    JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
    Volume71
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2014

    Keywords

    • common megrim
    • discards
    • highgrading
    • Lepidorhombus whiffiagonis
    • North Sea
    • quota

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