Using fishery-dependent data to inform the development and operation of a co-management initiative to reduce cod mortality and cut discards

S. J. Holmes, N. Bailey, N. Campbell, R. Catarino, K. Barratt, A. Gibb, P. G. Fernandes

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The Scottish conservation credits scheme is a voluntary programme introduced in 2008, designed to reduce mortality and discarding of cod in line with EU Common Fisheries Policy management objectives. The scheme was expanded in 2009, building on the initial elements of real-time closures (RTCs) and gear requirements. Various measures were agreed in a co-management framework involving fishers, non-governmental organizations, government officials, and scientists. The main objective was to encourage cod avoidance and the reduction of cod discards using spatial tools such as RTCs and seasonal closures, along with gear options that reduce cod capture. The scheme was incentivized by rewarding participation with additional days at sea. Real-time monitoring was carried out with extensive use of fishery-dependent information, allowing management to be adapted as required and to address emerging problems. The use of vessel monitoring system data, logbook records, fishers' knowledge, and observer data is described in terms of implementing and assessing the scheme. Compliance with the closure elements of the scheme was judged to have been good, and estimated catch rates by the Scottish fleet met target criteria, but the assessed catch savings of cod from RTCs were less than predicted. Modifications to the scheme were introduced for 2010, reflecting improved knowledge and experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1679-1688
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


  • cod
  • conservation credits
  • discards
  • real-time closures
  • VMS data
  • logbooks

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