Discards Data Collection
Between 2013 and 2015, in anticipation of the forthcoming discards ban, the NAFC Marine Centre carried out two projects in collaboration with the Shetland Fishermen's Association to collect data on the nature and scale of discarding by Shetland whitefish vessels.
These data were intended to help inform the development of management measures intended to implement the discards ban, and in particular to ensure that such management measures were appropriate, proportionate, and would not damage the viability of local fishing vessels.
The final reports of the two projects may be downloaded below.
Discards Tally Book Scheme (2013/14)
Over a period of about one year between 2013 and 2014 discard tally sheets were used by the Shetland Fishermen’s Association to collect information from a sample of Shetland’s whitefish vessels on the nature and magnitude of their discards.
Download the Project Report (July 2014):
Discards Self-Sampling Scheme (2014/15)
This project was funded by the Scottish Government under the Fishing Industry Science Alliance (FISA).
During 2014/15 NAFC trialled self-sampling as a means of collecting additional information on discards by Shetland whitefish vessels. This involved selected vessels retaining and landing samples of their discards for analysis onshore. In addition to the species composition of the fish being discarded this also provided information on their size compositions and indicated that the vast majority of the whitefish being discarded in the northern North Sea are larger than the minimum landing size (the primary reason for discarding being lack of quota).
An analysis was also carried out of the potential implications of the discards ban for fishermen in the Scottish mixed whitefish fishery, including an estimation of the potential costs of handling, landing and disposing of unmarketable discards, and an evaluation of the potential impacts of quota limits on individual species.