The Implementation of the Landing Obligation in Small-Scale Fisheries of Southern European Union Countries

  • Sebastian VillasanteEmail author
  • Manel Antelo
  • Maria Christou
  • Laurence Fauconnet
  • Katia Frangoudes
  • Francesc Maynou
  • Telmo Morato
  • Cristina Pita
  • Pablo Pita
  • Konstantinos I. Stergiou
  • Celia Teixeira
  • George Tserpes
  • Vassiliki Vassilopoulou


In the European Union, discards represent a major source of undocumented mortality, contributing to the overfishing of European fish stocks. However, little attention has been given by the scientific community to discards in the European Union’s small-scale fisheries (SSF). This is mainly due to the fact that discards are mostly generated by industrial fisheries, while SSFs were generally thought to have lower discard rates than industrial fisheries. A Landing Obligation (LO) is being introduced in European waters with the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) (Article 15, EU regulation 1380/2013) to limit/reduce discarding. However, management recommendations are required to support its implementation. The reality and challenges to enforce the LO in SSF are analyzed in this chapter, gathering information from different small-scale fisheries and fishers from the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea who were asked about their perceptions toward the LO. The objectives of this chapter are to (a) identify the reasons for discarding and (b) investigate the multiple ecological, economic, social, and institutional drivers which act as a barrier toward the implementation of the LO in SSF. Given the high importance of SSF in the southern countries of Europe, different case studies of SSF from France, Greece, Portugal, and Spain coasts are used to illustrate the reasons for discarding, the impacts of the LO on SSF, and the barriers for its implementation.


Common Fisheries Policy Discards Impacts Landing Obligation Small-scale fisheries Southern Europe 



The authors acknowledge the financial support from the European COST Action “Ocean Governance for Sustainability – challenges, options and the role of science” and by the ICES Science Fund Project “Social Transformations of Marine Social-Ecological Systems”, and MINOUW (Grant Agreement 634495). C. Pita acknowledges FCT/MEC national funds and FEDER co-funding, within the PT2020 partnership Agreement and Compete 2020, for the financial support to CESAM (Grant no UID/AMB/50017/2013). C.M. Teixeira had the support of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) (Pest-OE/MAR/UI0199/2011); and C.M. Teixeira and C. Pita were supported by the Research Project “LESSisMORE – LESS discards and LESS fishing effort for BETTER efficiency on the small-scale fisheries” (Ref. “LISBOA-01-0145-FEDER-028179”), support by the FEDER Funds through the COMPETE 2020, by the PIDDAC through FCT/MCTES. TM thanks the support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation project DiscardLess (Grant Agreement No 633680), the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013 granted to MARE. He is also supported by the Program Investigador FCT (IF/01194/2013/CP1199/CT0002).


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Villasante
    • 1
    Email author
  • Manel Antelo
    • 2
  • Maria Christou
    • 3
    • 11
  • Laurence Fauconnet
    • 4
  • Katia Frangoudes
    • 5
  • Francesc Maynou
    • 6
  • Telmo Morato
    • 7
  • Cristina Pita
    • 8
  • Pablo Pita
    • 2
  • Konstantinos I. Stergiou
    • 3
    • 11
  • Celia Teixeira
    • 9
  • George Tserpes
    • 10
  • Vassiliki Vassilopoulou
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Political and Social SciencesUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain
  3. 3.Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland WatersHellenic Centre for Marine ResearchAnavyssosGreece
  4. 4.Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas – OkeanosInstituto do Mar (IMAR), Universidade dos AçoresHortaPortugal
  5. 5.University of Brest, Ifremer, CNRS, UMR 6308, AMURE, IUEMPlouzanéFrance
  6. 6.Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSICBarcelonaSpain
  7. 7.Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Institute of Marine Research (IMAR) and OKEANOS Research UnitUniversidade dos AçoresHortaPortugal
  8. 8.Department of Environment and Planning & Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM)University of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  9. 9.MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  10. 10.Institute of Marine Biological Resources (IMBR)Hellenic Centre of Marine ResearchAnavyssosGreece
  11. 11.Aristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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