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North Sea trials show less than 1 percent of cod discarded

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The MMO has published the results of catch quota trials which took place in the North Sea during 2013.

Picture of cod

The MMO is operating the catch quota trials on behalf of Defra as part of the UK’s initiative to tackle the problem of discarding fish – where fish are thrown away at sea if they are too small or there is no quota left for a particular species. The trials encourage fishermen to fish more selectively and land all of what they catch.

12 vessels took part in the scheme in the North Sea in 2013. They were awarded additional quota for North Sea cod and had an obligation to land and count all catches of cod against quota. They were also fitted with electronic monitoring systems with CCTV to observe and record fishing activity.

The report details how the practice is proving a successful, alternative method of managing fisheries. Results for the 2013 trials show an overall estimated discard rate of North Sea cod of 0.03% (496kg) from a total sampled catch of 1452 tonnes.

Julian Roberts, Catch Quota Trials Manager for the MMO, said:

“We’d like to thank fishermen involved in the trials. I’m pleased to report continued involvement from the fishing industry in the scheme - participant levels have increased from 11 to 14 vessels since the start of 2014.”

The trials are providing the MMO with a better understanding of how a ban on discarding fish may work in practice is. Findings are being used by Defra to inform work on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

More information and previous reports on the trials are available on the archived MMO website

Published 11 August 2014