Small-scale fishers’ perception of the implementation of the EU Landing Obligation regulation in the outermost region of the Azores

Type Article
Date 2019-11
Language English
Author(s) Fauconnet Laurence1, 2, Frangoudes Katia3, Morato Telmo1, 2, Afonso Pedro1, 2, Pita Cristina4
Affiliation(s) 1 : Instituto Do Mar (IMAR) and Okeanos Research Unit, Universidade Dos Açores, Departamento de Oceanografia e Pescas, 9901-862, Horta, Portugal
2 : Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Universidade Dos Açores, 9901-862, Horta, Portugal
3 : Univ Brest, Ifremer, CNRS, UMR 6308, AMURE, IUEM, 29280, Plouzane, France
4 : Department of Environment and Planning & Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193, Aveiro, Portugal
Source Journal Of Environmental Management (0301-4797) (Elsevier BV), 2019-11 , Vol. 249 , P. 109335 (11p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.109335
WOS© Times Cited 11
Keyword(s) EU landing obligation, Small-scale Fishers, Outermost region, Discard avoidance, Hooks-and-lines, Deep-sea fishery

The archipelago of the Azores (mid-north Atlantic Ocean) is an outermost region of the European Union (EU) in which small-scale fisheries are a strong component of the local economy. Bottom longlining and handlining are the most important Azorean fisheries in landing values, fishing vessels and fishers. Despite their high selectivity and low discards, these fisheries can be highly impacted by the implementation of the Landing Obligation (LO). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with Azorean small-scale fishers to document their perceptions about discards and the LO, and to ascertain the mitigation measures they already implement or could further implement to avoid unwanted catch. Results suggest that most fishers strongly oppose the LO, perceiving it as inadequate to their fisheries. Several discard avoidance measures are already commonly used by most fishers, of which hook size and changing areas where there are too many undersized or over-quota individuals, are believed to be the most efficient. Additional measures to further improve selectivity and avoid unwanted catch appear limited. The recent conversion of many bottom longliners to handlining and the exemptions foreseen as part of the LO for the region might help Azorean fishers to mitigate the potential impacts of the LO.

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