Fishing Industry Perspectives on the EU Landing Obligation

The Landing Obligation (LO) represents a fundamental change in European Union fisheries policy and it has a particularly significant bearing on the activities of Europe’s fishing industry. This chapter provides an account of European fishing industry engagement with the discard issue prior to the LO and industry attitudes towards the LO. A discussion about discard management in Europe follows. The fishing industry had a consistent approach to discard management in the run-up to the LO enactment: they favoured fishery-specific discard reduction plans and were unanimously opposed to an outright ‘discard ban’. Canvassing fishers’ opinions from the North Sea (Denmark, France), Eastern and Western Mediterranean (Greece, Spain and France), the Celtic Sea (France, the UK and Ireland), Western English Channel (France) and the Azores between 2015 and 2018 reveals a consistent negative attitude towards the LO. We found that choke species are the main concern outside the Mediterranean Sea while in the Mediterranean region, the cost of disposal and the creation of a black market for juvenile fish are seen as the main negatives. Fishers recognise the necessity of reducing discards although zero discard fisheries are not seen as attainable. They favour a combination of selectivity improvements and spatial management as the best discard reduction measures. New measures to deal with intractable choke species problems are being sought by industry and Member State groups but the European Commission want existing measures to be utilised first. We discuss some potential consequences of negative stakeholders’ attitudes towards this key element of EU fisheries management policy. These include control and compliance challenges, associated business reputation problems for the industry, a longer LO implementation timescale, and deterioration in the quality of scientific data about discards.


EU landing obligation, Fisheries control, Fisheries governance, Industry-science collaboration, Stakeholder engagement, Top-down policy

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Fitzpatrick Mike, Frangoudes Katia, Fauconnet Laurence, Quetglas Antoni (2018). Fishing Industry Perspectives on the EU Landing Obligation. In The European Landing Obligation, S. S. Uhlmann et al. (eds.), 2018. ISBN 978-3-030-03307-1 ISBN 978-3-030-03308-8 (eBook), pp.71-88. Springer Nature.,

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