Possible Uses of Genetic Methods in Fisheries Under the EU Landing Obligation

  • Magnus Wulff JacobsenEmail author
  • Brian Klitgaard Hansen
  • Einar Eg Nielsen


While genetics has assisted fisheries management for over 50 years, genetic applications aiming to alleviate or eliminate discards have received little attention. In this chapter, we focus on how genetics can be applied under the EU Landing Obligation, to identify and prevent unwanted catches and to estimate the composition of products made from such catches. Three themes are covered: (i) the genetic identification of bycatch; (ii) the genetic analysis of species composition in nutritional products made from unwanted fish; (iii) the potential of using so-called environmental DNA (DNA shedded from aquatic organisms into the water) to reduce bycatch. For all themes, we introduce and explain the relevant genetic techniques, including data formats and analyses. We present the most significant limitations of the methodologies for their implementation in fisheries and provide examples of their use through relevant case studies. Finally, we discuss the potential future perspectives, with emphasis on the rapid progress in portable and automatic DNA devices, which may revolutionize the use of real-time onsite genetic analyses.


Discard Environmental DNA Fisheries bycatch Genetics Species composition Species identification 



This work has received funding from the Horizon 2020 Programme under grant agreement DiscardLess number 633680. This support is gratefully acknowledged.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Magnus Wulff Jacobsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brian Klitgaard Hansen
    • 1
  • Einar Eg Nielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Section for Marine Living ResourcesTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)SilkeborgDenmark

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