To land or not to land: How do stakeholders perceive the zero discard policy in European small-scale fisheries?

Sebastian Villasante, Cristina Pita, Graham J Pierce, Cesar Pazos Guimerans , Joao Garcia Rodrigues, Manel Antelo, Jose Maria Da Rocha , Javier Garcia Cutrin, Lee Hastie, Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Marta Coll

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The landing obligation recently adopted by the European Union’s (EU) Common Fisheries Policy aims to eradicate discards in EU fisheries. The objective of this paper is to investigate the potential social and economic impacts of the discard ban in European small-scale fisheries (SSF) and the critical factors for its successful implementation. An exhaustive systematic literature review and a stakeholder consultation were carried out in order to (i) collect detailed information about current knowledge on discards in EU SSF and gauge stakeholder perceptions about potential impacts of the discard ban in European SSF, (ii) examine the capacity of the SSF industry to implement the discard ban, and (iii) explore the limits and feasibility of implementing such a measure. The results of this study show that little attention has been given by the scientific community to discards in EU SSF. Indeed, the systematic literature review shows that this problem is relatively unexplored in the EU. In addition, the effectiveness of a discard ban in industrial fisheries is still unclear, mainly because discard data are not systematically collected by fisheries authorities. Stakeholders mostly perceive that the new landing obligation was developed with industrial fisheries in mind and that compliance with the landing obligation in EU SSF will be difficult to achieve without high economic costs, such as those related to the handling and storage of unwanted fish on board.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-174
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Early online date3 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • discarding
  • European Union
  • landing obligation
  • small-scale fisheries
  • stakeholders' perceptions


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