A Marine Spatial Planning Approach to Minimize Discards: Challenges and Opportunities of the Landing Obligation in European Waters
A sensible approach to minimize discards is to avoid areas or seasons where unwanted catch may be present. The implementation of a Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) approach to discard management requires the understanding of marine biological processes, as well as fishing conditions at a defined spatial scale. Mathematical models that analyze the spatio-temporal conditions of selected fishing areas allow the definition of different scenarios where discards are minimized by avoiding fishing for unwanted species and/or illegal specimens. Here we show some examples of how particular spatial models can be used for advice on MSP for discards. We introduce a geoserver GIS platform developed to produce maps of discard probability by using a Fishing Suitable Index. We also give an example of simulating virtual fishing closures. The inclusion of a Marine Spatial Planning approach to implement the Landing Obligation will bring some new challenges and opportunities. Finally, we will discuss and suggest some recommendations for its effective and successful implementation.
KeywordsDiscards GIS platform Landing obligation Maps of discard probability Marine spatial planning Simulating fishing closures
This work was funded by the Project iSEAS, Ref. LIFE13 ENV/ES/000131, “Knowledge-Based Innovative Solutions to Enhance Adding-Value Mechanisms towards Healthy and Sustainable EU Fisheries”, cofounded under the LIFE+Environmental Program of the European Union. We are deeply grateful to all the partnerships on this project and particularly to the observers who gather the fishing data within the IEO discarding observer program. The collection of fishery data has been co-funded by the EU through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) within the National Program of collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the Common Fisheries Policy.
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